Talent's new library will open today with much fanfare even as all 15 Jackson County branches set in motion a timetable to mothball the system indefinitely after their closure April 6....
This twist of fate doesn't faze local donors who have put their heart and soul into the new building next to City Hall. The donors have opened their pocketbooks to enlarge the meeting room and teen section and make other improvements.
"Once voters understand the real situation, they will take action," said Patricia Remencuis, who, along with her husband, donated $10,000 to the Talent library and got four grants that have paid for a larger facility than originally was planned for the site.
Even as the couple proudly show off the new facility, Jackson County officials are preparing the public for the closure of all branches after they have been remodeled or rebuilt primarily from $38.9 million in bonds OK'd by voters in 2000 and designated for new library construction countywide.
After the library in Medford shuts down to the public, it will remain open to Rogue Community College students only. RCC has an agreement with the county to use part of the library space.
"We will have a security guard at the door to check ID," said Stark. "You will have to have an RCC ID to check in."
After the closure, library workers will spend a week putting all the books that have been checked out back on the shelves.
On April 13, the equivalent of 80 full-time library jobs will be terminated. Stark is one of six employees who will stay on to maintain the mothballed system.
All the materials and equipment will remain in place until the May election.
So it's "put up or shut up" time for the voters of southern Oregon. And, under the rules governing this particular election, long term survival of the library system seems far from assured. The proposed tax increase will hit Jackson County property owners hard in the pocket book and they already rejected a similar proposal in a November 2006 vote. Maybe this time they will realize what they are about to lose. Here's hoping.