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2 Henderson libraries to close after failed ballot measure

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Updated: 11/08/2012 6:02 am
Two libraries will be shutting their doors for good, now that the voters have spoken. A tax increase proposal on the ballot failed. News 3's Sandra Gonzalez is in the newsroom with how things turned out on election night. It lost, but only my a small margin with about 45 percent of voters were in favor of raising property taxes to help maintain libraries that's almost half of the people who voted but not enough.

HENDERSON (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Before the end of the month, two Henderson Libraries will be shut down. That’s because voters decided they did not want to pay property taxes to keep operating the financially strained library system.

At the Lydia Malcolm Library that serves the Anthem and Seven Hills communities, there was sadness in the air after patrons learned of the election results. Manager Laurie Orton did her best to hold back tears after investing ten years working at this library.

“It's a real love of the mission that libraries have which is to help people. We help people every day,” Orton said.

Now the library will be closed by the end of the month and Orton, along with other staff members will be laid off. While their circumstances are bad, they feel terrible for the patrons they help. Henderson Library leaders say this branch alone services people six times more than the main library in Boulder City.

“We help them fill out job applications online, write resumes; how to use software programs, we help people find information for reports and from elementary school up to college. We serve all ages. Seniors love this library,” Orton said.

“It's a neighborhood library, and when you eliminate that you actually take a part out that neighborhood, out of that community that's around it, and that's a sad piece,” said Tom Fay, Executive Director of the Henderson District Public Libraries.

The initiative asked voters to pay $7 per $100,000 property valuation per year, but was defeated by 55 percent of the vote. Now the library system will have to see what the future fiscal budget will hold for it, minus two libraries and less staffing.

He says the decision was one that reflected the financial barometer of the community right now.

“We still have very high unemployment, double digit unemployment, and I think all of that is a contributor, because people are having to make decisions, hard decisions every day,” Fay said.

The other library that will close Thanksgiving week is the one operating inside the Galleria.

The Malcolm Branch books will be divvied amongst other Henderson area libraries, and then serve as a warehouse. Fay says the property will be retained over the next couple of years to see how the economy holds.

Patron traffic will have to be absorbed by Paseo Verde, Green Valley and Gibson Libraries.

The Clark County and North Las Vegas Library Systems have also dealt with cutbacks, they did not ask voters for more money.
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