On November 6, during the general election, Colfax County voted 'yes' on GO Bond B for Libraries. In fact, every county in the state except five voted for this bond issue.
For years now libraries across the state have depended on the various library bond issues that have been passed. They have helped keep the level of library service up in public, school and higher education libraries. In our county, this means that public libraries and school libraries have received extra money to be spent on their collections and computer needs, both of which are crucial to public service and student needs. As public and educational funds have been harder to come by, GO Bond funds have help fill the gaps.
I am naturally very pleased that the Arthur Johnson Memorial Library will be able to count on these funds once the 2010 GO Bond fund are spent. Believe me, it's takes a weight off my mind and enables me to plan for the future of this public library with that much more confidence.
But I am just as pleased for the school libraries in the county. I know that school libraries in Raton often have ONLY these funds to spend on their collections. Despite the rumors that books are dead (so libraries must be, too), school libraries and librarians still meet a crucial need in the educational process, and any money that helps them do so is money well spent.
The report I received this morning on a county by county count of the vote on this issue shows that there were 2,581 'yes' votes and 2,313 'no' votes in Colfax County. That was a difference of 268 votes. It may seem that this is not necessarily impressive - but it is. In all the years I have worked in this library, Colfax County has never voted 'yes' for a library bond issue. This is a first, and it tells me and other librarians in this county that the importance of functional libraries is recognized in a way that it never has been before.
Just as interesting is the fact that Colfax County cast 4,894 votes. The 2011 New Mexico census shows 13,640 as the population. About 26% of that are juveniles, who cannot vote. That leaves 10,094 adults of voting age. If you consider that some of these adults were unable to vote for various reasons, including not being registered to vote, it is quite possible that Colfax County had a 50% turnout of registered voters during this election. The ideal, of course, is that everyone votes; but the reality is that Colfax County has had much lower voter turnouts than 50% in the past. This shows public interest in more than just the GO Bond issues, but a real desire on the part of many citizens to particpate in the governing of this county, this state and this country by making decisions with their ability to vote.
So I just want to say, congratulations, Colfax County, on this turnout, and thank you very much for helping keep your libraries in the county funded!