Keeping the 2020 Referendum promises
Our promises for this Referendum were threefold:
Be open Sundays, extend weekday hours
- Opened on Sundays in September 2021
- Opening at 9 AM instead of 10 AM Monday–Saturday starting June 2023
Expand and improve services
- Significant increase to the physical and digital collections to diminish wait times on materials in 2021
- Streamlined departments, updated job descriptions, and hired Outreach and Digital Media Lab Coordinators in 2020–2021
Proactively maintain our building
- Replaced failing HVAC system in May 2022
- Multiyear building remodel to improve accessibility, replace worn carpet, replace heavy entrance doors with automatic, more began in late Summer 2022
We told you what would happen if you voted yes, and we are holding tight to those promises and keeping our word. Thanks to our supportive community, New Lenox’s future is bright!
For more plans and in-depth information, visit “Keeping Referendum promises” in the August 2021 Guide and "Lobby, building entrance renovations to begin mid-2022" in the January & February 2022 Guide.
We did it! The referendum was successful!
Words cannot begin to describe the amount of gratitude the library staff, Board Members and I have for our community right now. We appreciate every person that demonstrated their right to vote, especially those who supported us during this referendum. As a result of your support, the library will have sustainable funding to take care of our wonderful building for the foreseeable future, reach out to those that don’t know about our services and resources, and extend hours…finally!
We couldn’t have done this without you! We are committed to following through with the promises that we made to you during the referendum. Stay tuned for more updates as our excited staff start as soon as possible to work on plans for our promising future. For now, stay healthy New Lenox; we can’t wait to see you once we re-open again!
If YES, the Referendum passes
The Library will be able to:
- Be open Sundays and extend weekday hours to meet the needs of working families and students
- Expand and improve services focusing on early literacy and seniors while also increasing homebound delivery to serve more of those who cannot physically visit the library. Expanded services also includes ordering more books, DVDs and other materials for the library collection.
- Proactively maintain our 18-year-old building because the aging mechanical systems are failing and other physical aspects are reaching their lifespan
If NO, the Referendum fails
The Library will have to:
- Reduce hours by 15% over the next 3-5 years
- Decrease services including limiting materials budget and homebound delivery service
- Minimize maintenance to include only emergency or as-needed building repairs
& a Zero Tax Rate Increase
Library Referendum Informational Meetings
The informational meetings will be held in the Meeting Rooms at New Lenox Library.
- January (Weekday Evening)
Wednesday, January 22 at 7 pm
Watch Meeting on YouTube
- February (Weekend)
Saturday, February 22 at 10:30 am
After surveying the community, we have heard that the New Lenox community wants more from their library, including increased hours, additional classes, events, and materials. In fact, 99% of those surveyed said the library is essential to the community! Due to our limited budget, we currently are unable to provide all the resources that you requested.
The current building is existing on a tax rate intended for a building 19% of its size. The library has NEVER had a voter approved operational tax rate increase since 1946. The library is almost 20 years old and the facility systems are aging past their life expectancy. To address facility issues, a professional assessment of the building concluded that the library needs over $5.4 million over the next 10 years. Although the library has saved approximately $400,000 in capital reserves so far, this amount will not cover all the costs.
A Zero Tax Rate Increase
The voter-approved construction bonds that were issued to build our current library are fully paid off as of December 2019. Therefore the library will no longer be collecting taxes for this fund. This presents an opportunity for the library to attend to building maintenance issues, increase hours, and maintain services while remaining at the same tax rate. The library's proposal asks to redirect the tax rate for construction bonds to the tax rate for operations. The net effect of this referendum will be a zero tax rate change.
Why Not Bonds?
An operating tax increase is a set rate change, whereas bonds require taxpayers to pay interest during time of repayment, similar to a home mortgage. Facility assessments and planning studies conducted by professional third-party companies have demonstrated a need for long-term sustainable funding. By ensuring building maintenance issues are attended to, the library will be able to maintain materials and program budgeting levels. By avoiding bonds, the library will also save taxpayers money since no interest will be involved from borrowing monies.