San Jose Community Says "Yes" to their Libraries


Steven Brewster
San JoséPublic Library,
(415) 577-8851


Overwhelming majority of voters extend Library Parcel Tax for next 25 years

San José, Calif.,June 4, 2014—San José voters approved Measure B, the 25-year extension of an existing annual special sales tax on parcels of land, known as the Library Parcel Tax.  With all precincts now reporting results from the June 3 election, the Measure passed with 81 percent of all voters casting “yes” votes.  The Measure required at a minimum two-thirds of the voters to pass.

“Yesterday, the residents of San José reinforced their support of the value that libraries bring to our city by ensuring a stable funding source,” said Jill Bourne, director, San José Public Library. “The election results further demonstrate how the Capital of Silicon Valley loves its library system, and wants to maintain services available to residents, schoolchildren and businesses.”

The Library Parcel Tax pays for a portion of the operating costs of the library system including: acquisition of library books and materials, and related costs of maintaining library collections; the development and delivery of homework and educational programs; the repair, equipping and staffing of libraries; and the cost of collection and administration of the Library Parcel Tax.

Representing 22 percent, or $8 million of the Library’s overall budget of $37 million, the Library Parcel Tax specifically funds $2.2 million in acquisition of new books and media, $1.1 million to purchase and maintain public technology, $3.8 million for 53 full-time employees and $845K for building utilities, maintenance and custodial services.

Without the win, this funding, representing nearly a quarter of the Library’s overall budget would have ceased June 2015.  Now, with ballot measure win, the Library has a steady funding source extending more than two decades until June 2040.

Earlier this year, an independent survey of San José voters placed high importance on ensuring that libraries stay open, providing safe places for children after school, maintaining children’s reading programs, providing library services for local schools without their own libraries, and keeping libraries safe and clean.

“The passage of Measure B confirms that San José residents want to ensure their libraries remain open and provide the services our community needs,” Bourne said. “The Library’s number one goal is to begin adding back services.  The continuance of the Library Parcel Tax will allow the City to consider restoring past library budget cuts and improve library hours.”

About San José Public Library

San José Public Library (SJPL), located in the Capital of Silicon Valley, is the largest public library system between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Serving a culturally diverse population of more than one million in the country's 10th largest city, SJPL is one of the busiest library systems nationwide with an annual checkout rate of 11 million items. Award-winning staff strives to ensure library services reflect the city’s rich diversity and that every library customer’s experience is exceptional. SJPL is recognized for its innovation and leadership. It was named the 2004 Thomson Gale/Library Journal Library of the Year and recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for a library.  For more information, visit


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