Historic Perspective of the 2000 California Public Library Construction and Renovation Bond Act Program

California Proposition 14 was approved by the voters on the March 7, 2000 ballot in California. This proposition was legislatively referred to as the California Reading and Literacy Improvement and Public Library Construction and Renovation Bond Act of 2000 (2000 Bond Act).

The 2000 Bond Act authorized a bond issuance of three hundred fifty million dollars ($350,000,000) to provide funds for the construction and renovation of public library facilities in order to expand access to reading and literacy programs in California's public education system and to expand access to public library services for all residents of California.

Under the 2000 Bond Act, the 2000 California Public Library Construction and Renovation Board (board) and the California State Library Office of Library Construction (OLC) were created. OLC was renamed Bond Administration Office (BAO) in 2008.

The board is a six-member state board created to adopt policies for Proposition 14 and make the final choices about which grants to approve. OLC and BAO were created to administer the bond program and service the California public and local library jurisdictions.

In reviewing applications, the board considered factors such as (1) the relative needs of urban and rural areas; (2) library services available to the local residents; and (3) the financial ability of local agencies to operate library facilities. The board gave first priority to joint-use libraries that served both the community and a particular school district (or districts). For renovation projects, the board gave first priority to projects in areas where public schools had inadequate facilities to support access to computers and other educational technology.

In all, forty-four local library agencies received library construction and renovation grants of between $536,000 and $20 million. These 2000 bond act grants were used either to add new library space or renovate existing space. About half the projects were new libraries built where none existed previously. The other half replaced or remodeled older libraries, the oldest was built in 1888. Most are joint-use libraries that focus on serving K–12 students with homework centers. Many have family literacy centers that help adults and children learn to read.

For details of completed local public library projects, please view the funded library projects brochure at http://www.library.ca.gov/grants/lba2000/docs/LBA2000Brochureweb.pdf. (Note: the brochure states the number of public libraries either built or renovated is 45, but one, Sierra Valley Library Project grant, #3050, was never built. No bond funds were dispersed for that project.) Currently, the 2000 Bond Act Program is in its last phase of operation. This program will reach its finality by the 2014–15 fiscal year-end.