Current Issues

What is Happening?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - First Event

When: 2:00 p.m.

Where: Supervisor of Elections Office, 105 East Monroe Street.

Event: Validation of the 25,931st straw ballot petition for the independent library district. Significance: The validation will lead to the first straw ballot in Jacksonville history. Straw Ballot will occur on Tuesday, August 26, 2014. This is the culmination of a petition drive that has gathered well over 25,000 signatures from registered voters. Attendees: Library supporters and petition circulators. PLEASE COME AND JOIN US FOR THIS HISTORIC MOMENT. Straw Ballot requests Florida Legislature to afford Duval County voters the same opportunity that was previously accorded to the voters of Alachua County and Orange County to have a choice to establish an independent library district through voter referendum. Library effort was a JCCI Study Recommendation released in June 2012.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - Second Event.

When: 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Where: Conference Room area at the Main Public Library, enter from Main Street entrance (rear of library)

Event: Celebration by petition supporters for reaching milestone and concluding petition drive. Open to All Well Wishers. COME CELEBRATE. Note: Light refreshments will be provided. Note: Plan to arrive before 5 p.m. There will be recognitions and announcements promptly at 5 p.m.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - One Event.

When: 9:00 a.m. (begins).

Where: City Hall, 4th Floor, Conference Room A.

Event: Consolidation Task Force Subcommittee will discuss independent districts, including the independent library tax district proposal (different destination for ad valorem revenue that now goes into the "general fund", and modeled after other independent districts approved by voters in large counties). COME LISTEN.

Thursday, January 23, 2014 - One Event.

When: 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

Where: City Hall, City Council Chambers

Event: Duval County Delegation Meeting Event: Discussion of matters that may come before the Florida Legislature in 2014 Session. Possible discussion that formal library ballot issue could be placed on the Tuesday, November 4, 2014 ballot conditioned upon passage as a straw ballot on Tuesday, August 26, 2014. This would avoid a two year delay, and would ensure that straw ballot pass first as a condition to appearance on the ballot in November 2014. COME LISTEN AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT.

Petition status as of January 20:

We have over 1,000 petitions that have yet to be submitted for the verification process, but are just one short of reaching the 25,931 number necessary to place the straw ballot issue on the Tuesday, August 26, 2014 ballot.

In other words, we have 25,930 petitions that have been verified, and we will reach the necessary number on Tuesday, January 21, 2014, at 2 p.m. at the Supervisor of Elections Office.

And yes, we will be turning in the additional petitions so that they will be counted as well. If you have petitions in your possession, please submit them to us ASAP and we will formally submit them before the end of the month.

The historic nature of Tuesday's event is that we will have qualified for the first straw ballot in the history of Jacksonville. It will call upon the Florida Legislature to place the library independent district issue on a future ballot after August 26, 2014. The first possibility is November 4, 2014, and the Florida Legislature could do so during the next Legislative Session conditioned upon an affirmative vote of the straw ballot on August 26, 2014. This would be the most efficient method available for bringing this issue to an official vote, and not just a straw vote.

Watch the Florida Times-Union Video

Here's a news clip of an interview with Bill Brinton during the delivery of petitions October 16.  Bill delivered the petitions with Ann Harwood-Nuss, Kathleen Brunner, Brittney Behan, Cheryl Williams and Adam Pardue.

More News Coverage

Here's a news clip of our circulators submitting petitions at the Supervisor of Elections Office in September.

Mary Lou Sutherlin, Elizabeth Breting and John Hall all members of Friends of the Murray Hill Library!

Below are some of the places where petitions have recently been gathered:
Neighborhood Merchants
Back to School Giveaway
Teacher's Supply Depot
Courthouse and Juror's parking lot
Riverside Arts Market (RAM)
Art Walk
Libraries, libraries and libraries!

If you will be gathering petitions at a Library, please let me know so that we don't have redundancies.   Thank you!

Looking for more volunteers.  Please carve out some time from your week and help us.

Information for Volunteers

For the current list of recommended locations for petition gathering, go to the Volunteer Materials page which has an updated list of times, locations and coordinators.

Our Volunteer Materials page also has a handy selection of documents that many of us will need to use during the Straw Ballot Campaign.

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Volunteer Materials page has a handy selection of documents that many of us will need to use during the Straw Ballot Campaign.

Editorial - June 27 Times Union

Read it here (.pdf).

Editoral By Mike Clark - NOTICE the Date

Last year, an editorial by Mike Clark at the Times Union summed up the situation.  It's the same thing THIS year! Click here to read it.

News - Legal Update: Neptune Beach Says HANDS OFF Beaches Library! 

City Council of Neptune Beach passed a resolution on June 17 to formally notify the City of Jacksonville that closing the Beaches Library would violate a previous Interlocal agreement mandating the provision of library services.   Read it here (.pdf).

News - Petition Gathering Goes International! What?

Even on vacation, Jacksonville residents are showing their support for libraries! 

Petition Gathering Internationally.

Straw Ballot Campaign for Libraries

As part of its advocacy activities in support of libraries, Save Our Public Libraries, Inc. is supporting a straw ballot campaign to determine if there is public support for the creation of a Duval County Library District, similar to the successful independent districts in Alachua County and Orange County, Florida. 

More than 26,000 petitions from registered voters are being sought to place this nonbinding straw ballot on the ballot in Year 2014. 

Due to the laws that govern straw ballot initiatives, it is not possible for a straw ballot to appear any sooner than the latter half of the Year 2014, but there is every reason to begin this effort now. 

The campaign has the support of the governing boards of The Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library, Inc. and the Jacksonville Libraries Foundation, Inc. 

Petitions must be signed by registered voters and in order to accomplish that task, we need volunteers and coordinators.

Bad News From the Recent Board of Library Trustees Meeting

To comply with a budget cut ordered by the Mayor’s Office, the Board is planning to close six libraries, end Sunday hours, reduce Main Library hours by eight hours a week and reduce the materials budget by $251.000.

Here (in order of priority) are the cuts:

  • Reduce Main Library hours and end Sunday Library service throughout the city
  • Close Maxville Library
  • Close Brentwood Library
  • Close San Marco Library
  • Close Willowbranch Library
  • Close University Park Library
  • Close Beaches Library
  • Reduce materials budget by $251,000

You should understand that closing a library means removing all of the books, shelves, etc. and leaving an empty building (presumably to be used for some other purpose or sold).

Public reaction to these drastic steps could bring some change before the Mayor presents his budget to the City Council in July.

Then, the final decision will be made by the Council. The budget takes effect Oct. 1.

Stay tuned for more information as/when we get it.

Save Our Public Libraries, Inc. is a pure advocacy organization. It is not constrained in delivering an important message of library support to the extent that a non-profit entity or a public agency may be constrained. This site will serve as a platform to deliver important messages of library support to public officials.