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Library supporters kick off May levy campaign

Primary election vote part of two-step funding process

Five beloved Portland authors will speak about the value of libraries at a community event set for March 13.

Jean M. Auel, Molly Gloss, Ursula K. Le Guin, Phillip Margolin and Kim Stafford will lend their support to 'Library Lovers Unite!' an event organized by the nonprofit Friends of the Multnomah County Library.

Last year, Multnomah County library patrons borrowed 19.4 million items, 28 books per person, giving it the highest circulation of any U.S. library. Two-thirds of its funding is due to expire in June.

The campaign has outlined a two-step process to renewing the funds: a three-year local option renewal of the existing library levy (which provides more than 55 percent of library funding) on the May ballot; and a campaign to create a library district to refer to voters in November.

The May effort would keep all library branches open, with reduced hours. A failure means new branches will not open, others will be open fewer hours, fewer books will be purchased and many neighborhood libraries will close.

Speakers at the March 13 event will educate the public about the campaign and ask for support. It's set for 6 to 8 p.m. March 13 at The Old Church, 1422 S.W. 11th Ave. It's free and open to the public. For more info, check the website www.friends-library.org.