Surveys show that two-thirds of the people believe that public libraries contribute to the quality of life in a community.

Residents will have an opportunity to show how much they appreciate library services when ballots are mailed Friday for a Timberland Regional Library district levy lid increase. The district operates 27 libraries in Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Grays Harbor and Pacific counties.

Under state law library districts can assess a tax of up to 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Over time, because of voter-approved initiatives and other factors, the 50-cent maximum begins to shrink. Currently, the five-county library district is collecting 32.9 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The levy lid issue on the upcoming ballot is a request by the library trustees to return to a maximum of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The owner of a $200,000 home would see about a $34 yearly increase in taxes. The portion of the property tax going to fund libraries would jump from just under $66 to $100 a year.

Libraries are more than a cornerstone of the community. They are a cornerstone of democracy and the foundation of our future. Libraries are a source of limitless information. The last thing we need is to have one less place for children to expand their knowledge. Adults use libraries to search for jobs, for self help and entertainment. That's why survey results show that the public believes so strongly that libraries contribute greatly to the quality of life in a community.

Timberland trustees have managed their budget crisis responsibly. Voters should say "yes" when they receive their vote-by-mail ballot later this week.

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