Jul 28, 2014

Election Results: Birmingham Voters Send Clear Message on Library

A proposal to tear down two wings of Baldwin Library and rebuild the facility was hotly contested.

Election Results: Birmingham Voters Send Clear Message on Library

Voters in Birmingham have defeated a $21.5 million bond issue proposal that would have provided more meeting space, a children’s library, a coffee cafe and other amenities, according to unofficial election results.

Here’s the total:

No: 3,775 votes –  76.4 percent

Yes: 1,167 votes – 23.6 percent

The proposal was hotly contested, with both supporters and detractors, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Opponents said the proposal was a waste of money because it would tear down facilities that are still usable, would have diverted taxes from other needs like road repairs, and came at a time the role of libraries in communities is shrinking because of ubiquitous online services and ebooks.

They said supporters of the improvement want to build “the Taj Mahal” of libraries.

Proponents argued libraries are still vital community gathering spots. In Birmingham, library usage increased 14 percent over the past decade. The 327,000 visits last year “show that more people are using us all the time,” library director Doug Koschik said.

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