California Library Referenda Campaigns
 
By
Richard B. Hall, Library Consultant
 
Library Developement Services Bureau, California State Library
Dr. Kevin Starr, State Librarian of California


CONTENTS 

Introduction
Acknowledgements
Sources of Data
Number of Referenda
Cain Study of California Library Referenda (1978 - 1994)
Library Journal Study of California Library Referenda (1987 - 1995)
Success & Voter Approval Rates
Library Journal Yearly Summaries
Success Rate By Purpose of Measure
Special & General Elections
Ballot Competitions
Tendency to Support Other Public Services
Funding Sources For Ballot Measures
Success Rate By Various Funding Sources
City Versus County Success Rate
Use of Professional Campaign Consultants
Campaign Tactics
Campaign Tactics & Success
The Impact of Targeting
Campaign Messages & Themes
Voter Opinions Impact Campaign Arguments
Reasons for Success or Failure
Best Ways to Improve The Public Library
Library Use
Spending Levels for Public Libraries
Willingness to Pay More for Libraries
Conclusion



INTRODUCTION

In response to an increasing local interest in the process of placing a library funding measure on the ballot, the California State Library provided funding assistance for the recently completed "California Library Referenda: The Determinants of Success and Failure." This study was performed by Dn Bruce E. Cain of the Institute of Governmental Studies, University of California, Berkeley, California in consultation with Ann Marie Gold, Library Director, Contra Costa County Library, myself and other California librarians. Dr. Cainís study is a landmark effort to understand California library ballot measures held from 1978 to 1994. This document, "California Library Referenda Campaigns," is an attempt to summarize the results of the Cain study as well as analyze and compare those results with the national data collection effort for library referenda published yearly in Library Journal since 1988. When this data is viewed along with the results of recent state-wide and nation-wide surveys, the implications for future California library ballot measures as well as those in other states are significant and revealing.

This document was created as an attempt to bring the results of the Cain study into the light of the "popular literature" of the day. It is essentially a summary of some of the more pertinent information in the study, as well as other related studies, placed in a format which will be easy for library administrators to use with their staff, boards, Friends and local governmental officials. The graphics and print size is large so that the book can literally be copied on to transparencies for use with an overhead projector for presentations. Readers should feel free to utilize this document in any way they feel is appropriate to best communicate the information herein, with the simple request of giving credit where credit is due.

Now that the Cain study is complete, the State Library has started an on-going in-depth data collection effort for library referenda in California so that there will be a continuing record of what is achieved for future analysis and reporting. The referenda data collection effort is being performed under the authority given the State Librarian in Section 19320 (f) of the Education Code which states that the State Librarian may: The California State Library is not encouraging nor discouraging public libraries to enter into the political process, but simply collecting ballot measure data to establish a historical record, to analyze the results in order to be able to report trends and to facilitate communication between parties interested in the subject. The State Library does not endorse the content of the information provided, but simply acts as a conduit making the information publicly accessible to all interested parties including the press, state and local governmental officials and the general public as well as the library community.

Any individual interested in the on-going California and national data collection effort, a copy of the original Cain study, or additional copies of the present document may contact me at (916) 653-7252, by e-mail at rhall@library.ca.gov or it may be viewed at the California State Library home page: http://library.ca.gov/referenda.



ACKNOWEDGEMENTS

The author wishes to thank and acknowledge the following for the permission to reprint information contained within this document:

Dr. Bruce E. Cain for his willingness to allow reprinting of information from the study entitled: California Library Referenda: The Determinants of Success & Failure.

Library Journal for its permission to reprint information from the June 15 (1988-1996) articles on public library referenda by the author. All data is copyrighted by Reed Elsevier, USA.

Kevin Starr, California State Librarian for his willingness to allow reprinting of information from the California State Library publication entitled: Entering the 21st Century: California's Public Libraries Face the Future.

The California Library Association for its permission to reprint information from the Opinions of California's Public Libraries: Results and Analysis of a Survey of California Voters.

The American Library Association for its permission to reprint information from the publication entitled: Using the Public Library in the Computer Age, Copyright 1991.

Cathy Audley, Public Relations Manager, Tulsa City-County Library System for her permission to reprint the campaign poster/yard sign titled: "C'mon Grandpa, please vote YES. I love libraries." (Reproduced from the book Winning Library Referenda Campaigns: A How-To-Do-It Manual, Neal-Schuman Publishers, New York, 1995.)

When you have reviewed this document, please complete the EVALUATION FORM

This publication made possible through a grant of Library Services and Construction Act

(LSCA), Title I Funds

By Dr. Kevin Starr, State Librarian of California


SOURCES OF DATA

This document draws data primarily from five sources of information. The first two sources cover California and national library referenda. The second two sources provide survey research data from two recent California polls and the final source provides recent national survey data on public library use.

 

California Library Referenda:

The Determinants of Success & Failure Library Journal National Data Collection for Library Referenda Entering the 21st Century:

California's Public Libraries Face the Future Opinions of California's Public Libraries:

Results and Analysis of a Survey of California Voters Using the Public Library in the Computer Age NEXT SECTION