By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
CAMANO ISLAND — Cindy Rigtrup’s children read their library books as fast as they can. A stack of just-read books by the door means another fun trip to the library to check out more.
If they read 10 books or 1,000 pages, Rigtrup’s kids are eligible for the library’s summer reading program prize of a new bicycle.
“We absolutely love our library. For us, it’s about teaching our kids to make habits for lifelong learning,” said Rigtrup, 33. “All my friends who are moms use the library. It’s such a great resource. We attend most of the summer programs for children and we’re all voting for a new library.”
Camano Island’s pilot library, a project of Sno-Isle Libraries, has been serving people on the island since 2007 in a 1,800-square-foot store front at Terry’s Corner.
On the Aug. 6 ballot are two measures that would ensure that the Rigtrup kids continue to have a local library.
The first proposition asks Camano voters if a special taxing district, called a library capital facility area, should be formed on Camano Island. The measure requires a simple majority to pass. The second proposition asks voters if a $2.3 million bond should be issued to establish a permanent library on the island. The bond measure requires that 60 percent of those voting must approve it for the proposition to pass. Both measures have to pass if people want a permanent library. If neither measure passes, the board of Sno-Isle Libraries would decide how best to serve Camano Island library patrons and whether the temporary library would continue.
If approved, taxes to support construction would be levied for a 10-year period, costing about 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value or about $22.50 a year for the owner of a $250,000 home. Property tax collection for the library project would begin in 2014, the same time as construction.
A new 5,000-square-foot library would be located at the site of the former Islander Restaurant at Terry’s Corner and open in early 2015. With more space than the current storefront, the library would provide room for additional popular books, movies, CDs, a larger area to drop off and pick up reserved library materials and media titles, an area for children’s activities, comfortable and quiet seating areas and additional computers for public use, Sno-Isle Libraries spokesman Ken Harvey said.
Camano Islander Shirley Murray works as a job coach for Washington Vocational and often meets her clients at the library, where she can direct them to job searches on the library’s computers. Many of her clients don’t have an Internet connection at home.
“The library is important for our community. The number of people in and out in a day is amazing, as is the level of academic learning that goes on here,” Murray said. “The library is critical to our future. A few more cents on your property tax to support the public good, well, it’s a minimal contribution. I would hate to see this go down because our community has lost sight of caring for our neighbors.”
Harvey said he knows of no organized opposition to the library propositions.
A survey commissioned by Sno-Isle showed that two-thirds of Camano’s population of 15,600 people use the library and that most of those people want a bigger, permanent library. With the economy turning around, it seemed like a good time to ask the voters to fund it, Harvey said.
“We want people to freely connect to all the world has to offer,” he said.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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