Dori: City wants to add to $213M library levy for irresponsible people

Apr 10, 2019, 5:12 AM

Remember when Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Councilmember Debora Juarez announced that they want a $213 million library levy?

As much as I love the library, I think we should be heading in a different direction with our libraries.

Why do we need a $213 million library levy in the first place? Because Jenny Durkan wants to eliminate late fees. This is Seattle, come on. We don’t hold people accountable. If people borrow the city’s property and they don’t want to return it, why should they? We don’t want to make irresponsible people have to return borrowed books.

We don’t we make people pay for anything? Everything from ORCA cards to college to library books is free.

RELATED: Will Seattle spend $213 M so Councilmember Juarez won’t have to return her library books on time?

Libraries should be open to everyone. It’s just that, if the residents borrow books and don’t return them, they should pay a fine. And if they don’t pay that fine, they shouldn’t be allowed to borrow more books.

Jenny Durkan says that eliminating fines is an equity issue that will help marginalized communities. Really? You think that it’s an equity issue? Are you telling me that some groups are more irresponsible than others? Isn’t that racial stereotyping?

So why am I bringing this up again? The city council has just announced that they want to add substantially to the library levy proposal that Durkan made just two weeks ago. Mike O’Brien wants to keep libraries open an additional hour, which would cost another $5.6 million. Lorena Gonzalez wants to add new programs for kids under four years old.

We should go the other direction. I know this is not a popular opinion. I grew up loving books as a kid. My wife and I opened a bookstore with a couple of our friends in 1990. I have a library in my home that is well-stocked.

But, libraries are a bit anachronistic. With internet access, you have the world on your phone. You could read books on mobile devices now at a fraction of the cost.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
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Dori: City wants to add to $213M library levy for irresponsible people