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Bill in the Legislature is Bad News for Kansas Libraries

Representatives of the Lawrence Public Library visit a Statehouse commitee to oppose the bill. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

A bill in a Kansas House committee could cause many public libraries to close or cut back their services. The idea behind the bill is to let voters have more input on property taxes and bonds issued by some government entities. But as KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the proposal would have some unintended consequences.

The bill would significantly impact the seven regional library systems in Kansas. They pool resources that small libraries couldn’t afford on their own. The bill would require public approval of the system budgets or cap how much they can raise from property taxes.

Matt Nojonen is director of the Leavenworth Public Library. He says hurting the regional systems would close some libraries and mean a loss of services for others.

“And that is going to put a hurting on everybody that enjoys reading, children’s programs, people that come to libraries for internet access, people that come to libraries to get tax preparation support. There are a million services that we all offer that will go away,” says Nojonen.

The chairman of the committee, Republican Representative Marvin Kleeb, says if they do consider the bill they’ll likely address some of the unintended consequences.

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