Keep Our Libraries Strong
spacer spacer spacer
central library
Central Branch Library
using computers
Computer access for everyone
A great place to study
children at play A great place to play
Photos by Jim Bourne
Library Questions & Answers
Q:  What are the issues?
A:  Maintaining an excellent library system throughout Santa Cruz County is important to our quality of life. Thanks to the ¼% sales tax passed by voters 12 years ago, our libraries have been able to extend open hours, expand collections of books and other materials, increase outreach programs and make needed improvements throughout the system.

The current revenue source will expire in just a few years. Without continued support as provided by Measure R, our libraries will lose over half of their funding, forcing drastic cuts in book collections, services, and open hours. By voting “yes” on R, we can continue to protect our libraries, with no increase in taxes and maintain the momentum of ongoing improvements.

A “yes” vote on R ensures our libraries continue to promote childhood learning and development with programs and books for young children, resource materials for school-age children, and programs for teens and pre-teens. By maintaining outreach services for seniors, the homebound, and people in remote areas, “yes” on R insures our libraries remain accessible to all. By offering resources for research and enjoyment for people of all ages – from data bases to genealogy, recent novels to books on tape – “yes” on R helps meet the diverse information needs of our community.

As places to learn for kids, families and the community, our libraries ensure that information is freely available.

Q:  What libraries are we talking about?
A:  Santa Cruz County residents are served by two library systems: The Santa Cruz City/County system operates branches in Boulder Creek, Felton, Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz (Garfield, Central and Branciforte), Capitola, Aptos and La Selva Beach, plus bookmobiles and outreach programs. The Watsonville system provides services in Watsonville, Freedom, and the Greater Pajaro Valley.

Boards that include elected officials and community members oversee both systems. Meetings are open to the public, and finances are audited annually. In each system, a “Friends of the Library” organization provides volunteer and financial support.

Q:  How will my library benefit from
Measure R?
A:  Every library throughout Santa Cruz County will benefit from Measure R because it:
  • Protects and maintains our local libraries, with no increase in taxes;
  • Maintains programs and provides books for young children;
  • Increases resource materials for school-age children from elementary through high school;
  • Ensures library outreach services for seniors and the homebound;
  • Ensures summer reading clubs and story time are available for our children;
  • Updates book collections and electronic resources and maintains open hours;
  • Ensures that information remains freely available;
  • Creates stable funding for long-range planning projects.
Q:  Why now?
A:  Yes on R demonstrates sound planning. Community funding for our libraries is due to expire. Without Measure R our libraries will be forced to make deep cutbacks in book collections, services, and open hours.

We can’t do long range planning for the future development of the system without stable, long term funding. Without Measure R, our libraries would be unable to proceed with planned upgrades. Yes on R ensures every branch library gets its fair share with stable funding for current needs, future operations and improvements.

The governing boards of the libraries chose to put this on the June ballot in order to avoid conflicts with other local revenue measures that were anticipated in November.

Q:  How can voters be sure that funds are spent as promised?
A:  Measure R requires strict financial accountability and oversight, beyond that required by law. Published annual audits and citizens’ oversight ensure expenses are controlled and funds are spent as promised to voters. Yes on R ensures every community in our county monitors library spending. Library oversight boards include elected officials and citizens from throughout the county, and meetings are open to the public.

The Santa Cruz libraries are proud of their strong track record of fiscal responsibility. Funds from the existing sales tax have been spent as promised since first approved by the voters in 1996. Since then, our libraries have increased and updated book, electronic resources, and other collections, expanded children’s programs and outreach services to seniors, increased open hours by almost 70%, provided outreach and education programs, built new and remodeled facilities, and added resources in response to changing needs and technology. Long-range plans have been developed for projects in Felton, Scotts Valley, Capitola and Aptos as well.

Q:  What’s the role for libraries in the
Internet age?
A:  People need help sorting out the vast amount of information available to them. They turn to libraries for personal enrichment through books, music and the spoken word. Libraries are community gathering places, serving groups as diverse as young parents and seniors.
Q:  When will the election be held?
A:  Tuesday, June 3rd. For information on voting (including registering to vote or vote by mail) contact the County Elections Office at or
Q:  How can I help or volunteer to protect our libraries?
A:  Please contact our campaign at 831-479-1560, visit our website at Get Involved or send an e-mail to
Q:  How can I learn more about local library services?
A:  Visit the websites of the two systems serving Santa Cruz County for more information on branch location, services, governance, finances and more. Santa Cruz City/County system:
Watsonville system:
Measure R Q&A