Supporters of the Mount Shasta Library are gearing up to campaign for Measure H, which will appear on the special election ballot in June. Measure H will ask voters to approve a .25 percent add-on sales tax at Mount Shasta businesses, which will be used exclusively to fund the city’s library.

Supporters of the Mount Shasta Library are gearing up to campaign for Measure H, which will appear on the special election ballot in June. Measure H will ask voters to approve a .25 percent add-on sales tax at Mount Shasta businesses, which will be used exclusively to fund the city’s library.

Measure H will need a two-thirds majority to pass. If approved, it would call for the city council to appoint a citizen’s advisory board to oversee the library, explained Dennis Johnson, a member of the Mount Shasta Friends of the Library and the “Yes on H” campaign.

“The funds collected will be held in a segregated account for the sole purpose of supporting library operations,” Johnson said. “The city owns the library building; the cost of maintaining the building comes from the general fund. Measure H will relieve the city of this financial burden.”

Though some community members may be skeptical of increasing sales tax within the city, particularly in today’s economic climate, Johnson said the impact on a local shopper or visitor would be “minimal.”

“The additional tax on a $25 dinner would be six cents. The added tax on a $600 set of tires would be $1.50,” he pointed out. “It’s not a huge increase, but it would mean a steady funding source for the library.”

The goal of the tax is to have enough money to run a full service library even if the county can no longer afford to do so, Johnson said.

He talked about the plan that’s being developed by library consultants George Needham and Joan Frye-Williams, which will require the county to fund a “backbone,” and for individual communities to provide additional funding to make their library as comprehensive as they choose.

“We’re hopeful the county will  be able to fund that plan,” Johnson said. “If so, the funds raised by Measure H would be used to fund our end of the deal – for enhancements, to make our library a full service, 21st century library.”

Johnson added the tax will give individual citizens a reason to shop local.

“By buying locally, they’ll be supporting their local library,” he said.

History

“This library is a product of a lot of people’s hard work,” Johnson said. “It’s obviously been a valuable asset to the community.”

The Sisson Free Library was established in 1916 and was housed upstairs at City Hall until 1968.

Fundraising to build the current library building began in 1967 by the Mount Shasta Rotary Club, headed by Martin Cooper. The Rotary donated $8,500. With the assistance of the Mount Shasta Soroptimist Club and the Mount Shasta Women’s Club, an additional $23,500 was raised from donations by community members. The Kimberly-Clark Corporation donated building materials.

“The value of the new library was estimated to be $45,000, or approximately $284,000 in today’s dollars,” said Johnson. “It was carefully designed to allow for expansion at a later date.”

Realizing the library was too small, the Rotary Club immediately began fundraising for an addition. Over the next 18 years, under the leadership of Gino Marconi, the Rotary Club raised $50,000.

With the addition of donations from Siskiyou County Friends of the Library and a grant from the California State Library Association, construction of the expansion began in 1987.

The campaign

Johnson said because there isn’t much money to run “a big, glitzy campaign,” supporters will instead reach out to the 2,000 registered voters in Mount Shasta to educate them about the measure and the benefits the tax could bring to the city.

“I’ll be a person to person campaign,” Johnson said. “We’ll tell them what it all means, then leave it up to them to  make the decision."

“It doesn’t matter if you’re far left or far right, it seems that people from all political backgrounds support and value the library,” Johnson added. “It seems there’s almost a universal support for having a library in our community.”