Opinion

Library just picked a bad year to ask for a lid lift

In the current economic climate, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to guess that virtually every South Kitsap household, every month, has had to defer purchases of nonessential items until things improve a little bit.

On a broader scale, the lid lift currently being sought by the Kitsap Regional Library fits that description as well, and we’d encourage South Kitsap voters to reject it when their ballots for the Nov. 2 general election arrive in another week or so.

In announcing KRL’s decision to seek the lid lift this past July, board of directors vice president John Lyall said, “I can look any taxpayer in the eye and say the money will be spent for essential services.”

Essential to whom? Maybe once upon a time, when the world’s accumulated knowledge wasn’t at everyone’s figertips via the Internet, a local information respository was an absolute necessity for every community worthy of the name.

But these days, the function that transforms a library from a luxury into a near-necessity no longer exists — at least not for the vast majority of those paying the bills.

None of which is to say library services are irrelevant. Nor is what KRL is asking for hugely expensive.

But library officials themselves concede they can maintain services at current levels for the next year or so even if the lid lift fails, and they studiously avoid making specific projections about what would need to be cut should that happen.

This persuades us that passing a levy lift now, when there are so many other expenses to worry about and so few resources to pay for them with, doesn’t rise to the level of an urgent need.

Again, it would be wonderful to have a new library in Port Orchard and enhanced services at the existing facility until a new one can be built. But it would also be nice to cruise the Bahamas, and we’re guessing most folks are planning something a little more practical for their vacation this year — if they take one at all.

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