A rural county in southern Oregon is scheduled to close all of its libraries after losing seven million dollars of federal funding. On April 7, Jackson County, Oregon, will close fifteen library branches and lay off approximately one hundred employees. While other library systems have recently faced closure, including Salinas and Merced counties in California, and Niagara Falls, New York, they have each found ways to avoid shutting down.
Library supporters hope that one of two solutions will save the library system. Congress is currently considering a one-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act, which provides four hundred million dollars to seven hundred counties, including Jackson, that have been negatively impacted by restrictions on timber harvesting. And in May, residents will consider a property tax levy that would raise enough money to fund the library for three years, though voters rejected a similar proposal last November.