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May 21, 2011


Janet Evans

Describe me as a "tax freeze advocate" if you must, or just as being practical. How should we characterize you?

Let me make it clear I am in not in favor of ridding the nation of libraries. Every school needs a library. I think as far as elaborate libraries in every city or town, things may change in the future. Not based on "tax freezes" but on lack of use.

I remember the day (a very long, long time ago) when I got my first library card. It was a glorious feeling to know I could walk to the library after school and browse the shelves, choose several books and take them home to enjoy for a week. As a teen, those quiet study tables with friends or group research projects were standard. As a young mother I spent much time at the library with my children.

Books have always been an important part of our family. Is there a better evening moment with children than that bedtime ritual of cozying up and reading a few chapters of a novel together each night? My 1 1/2 year old grandson and I have a bond with books already.

I do believe this current generation and beyond will read less paper books and the "need" for large libraries will be the norm. It is the same as with post offices, which are now beginning to consolidate. Whether I believe it is right or wrong is not pertinent.

So back to the statement, "Libraries in schools are already being reduced by digital media." You can believe it or not. The "demand" is for more software based programs. Library funding is being spent on digital media, not books alone. Even classroom study books have been reduced in favor of software. Some schools are providing laptops, iPads, and Kindles for all of their students.

Yes, "librarians" and library aides have been cut due to budget reductions. When those recommendations are brought before the Board, it isn't an easy decision to make. Which program do you reduce? Which individual to you make a life changing decision for?

When you say, "I see my own children having to turn to me to learn basic research," are you saying your children aren't being taught "how" to do research in libraries?

John, what would you cut as an alternate to reducing funding to public libraries?

John Michlig

"John, what would you cut as an alternate to reducing funding to public libraries?"

I could answer, but in your other comment, you dismiss the math and characterize as SUPPLICANTS those who believe a civilized society should be capable of delivering educational facilities and reliable infrastructure to its citizens:
"Every time someone wants something it is equated to a few cups of coffee,a night out at a restaurant... how about a tank of gas? Who are we to judge what anyone can afford now?"

"Every time someone wants something...".

The fact is, we still live in a nation that has a SOMEWHAT progressive tax policy. If you live in a $250,000 house, guess what: You can afford a night out. And the MATH says that, in terms of property tax increase required to provide needed services, that's your share.

But - TAX FREEZE! It's much more fun to complain about "egregious tax burden." Makes for great blog fodder, "tax hell" and all.

If you live in a $95,000 house, your share is more like the cost of three cups of coffee. Who's to say that's manageable? Me.

Oh, to know the price of everything and the value of nothing....

Now, what if the Republican party made businesses responsible for paying their actual share of taxes? The United States currently has the highest business tax rate in the world. However, THEY DON'T PAY. Meanwhile, the burden falls on private property taxes.

You are seeing the results all around you. It's a culture of narcissism.

"Every time someone wants something...".

Janet Evans

Supplicants? Please. What I did not clearly state was, " every time there are those who want to raise taxes" (no matter what they are for).


Tell that to the mother of five who spoke at the school board meeting who has the unemployed husband. It doesn't matter what you paid for your home if you don't have a job anymore. Who are you to to tell any family what is manageable? I'm sure she wants a library, AND shoes and clothes for the kids, along with medicine, and food. She probably would like a night out on the town but doesn't get one.

Are you more irate over tax freezes or reduction in funding for libraries?

I didn't expect you to give me an answer regarding what you would cut. Actually, I knew you wouldn't.

John Michlig

Straw Dog 1: "The mother of five who spoke at the school board meeting who has the unemployed husband." Guess what? The current governor of Wisconsin has decided that "shared sacrifice" will fall squarely on her shoulders (and God help her if she and her husband divorce). A common theme at this blog is clearly stated over and over again: A truly progressive tax program that DOES NOT CUT TAXES FOR THE VERY RICH AND FOR CORPORATIONS would greatly reduce the property tax burden.

However, the Republican party - and Governor Walker - have done the math and discovered that they can get elected with the money and support of a few dozen very rich corporations and the zombie-like repetition of the words "tax freeze." Coupled with a fabricated "budget crisis" (whose deficit just happens to closely match the money lost to corporate tax giveaways), they have managed to demonize public workers, including teachers and school librarians.

You understand what's about to happen to municipal governments in Wisconsin, don't you?

Straw Dog 2: "...what you would cut." Answer: Rather than cut, see above.

To go back to the original thrust of this post: I don't think, Janet, that you mind being identified as a school board member. Coming from a school board member, dismissive comments about libraries that are based on erroneous beliefs about the function and value of these institutions have to be addressed.

Your original comment:

"The current generation is the future of portable devices for reading material and beyond. They will be visiting 'clouds' rather than finding the need for libraries. Libraries in schools are already being reduced by digital media. That's the demand.

"The library for the purpose of relieving isolation may need to be combined with community centers. Take taxes (or lack there of) out of the picture and it won't change the fact that literature, research, and study are all evolving. Ben Franklin just might have been excited about an iPad, Kindle and iBooks, don't you think?"


1. I characterize the above as a faulty assessment of what a library is and what a library does. I addressed that.

2. Clearly, the contrived "budget disaster" could be solved with a progressive tax program. Furthermore, when the phrase "you want to punish the rich?" is uttered, the person who uttered such tripe should feel deep, deep shame.

3. "Are you more irate over tax freezes or reduction in funding for libraries?" I am irate over the fact that that button is so often pushed. It's a cheap gimmick.

Janet Evans

I am not making dismissive comments about libraries. I simply was responding to your points in your post:

"What does a "property tax freeze" get you, besides votes? Well, if you actually follow through and spare the average suburban home owner a tax hike that approximates the cost of a single night out in a restaurant, you can begin to kiss public amenities like libraries goodbye"


"Onward toward total isolation and homogeneity. On the plus side, you saved $120 this year!"

You know very well I know the function of a library. It is not erroneous, nor unreasonable to believe due to the trend of technology and the habit of isolation we have created as a result of that technology, the possibility of a need for a public library in every city will not be there. I doubt I will be around to prove that.

The fact is no one can accurately predict the future of libraries. You have links. I could do the same. But perhaps this one, giving several scenarios says it best:


You cherry pick and twist. You slip in quotes like, "you want to punish the rich?" as if the commenter made them. I was just having a conversation regarding the digital impact on libraries.

Greg Kowalski

I'm coming on this a bit late, but I have to say I am also quite disappointed in how libraries (or funding of libraries) don't seem to be well-received. That it's not well-received by a School Board Member just makes it worse.

I don't know about Ms. Evans, but an organization I'm part of meets at the library once (sometimes twice) a month. The parking lot is (at minimum) half to three quarters full every time, and the computers there are always fully utilized. It's also impressive the number of STUDENTS that go to the library to study or work on group projects. Being a Board Member, I'd hope Ms. Evans would recognize that at the high school many teachers include several heavy-duty group projects in their classes.

Out of any public facility in Franklin, I'd argue that our library is one of the busiest and most used. Using Ms. Evans' logic, we should be shuttering City Hall or the "Educational & Community Center" in favor of them being merged with, perhaps, the library to make them more "tax-friendly".

Common Council or School Board Meetings in the Fadrow Room? Hmm...that actually sounds better than the current blah environments present at both Council and Board meetings.

Janet Evans


I can only assume you did not read all of the comments, or only read John's comments. You are making assumptions that are incorrect.


It is good to see a lively discussion on the Franklin Public Library.

I also do not believe that bringing up Janet's School Board position is part of this discussion any more than someone bring up that John's wife is involved in the teaching profession.

I also think it is interesting to note that the Franklin Public Library is protected by current State Law as to it's mandatory funding.

"Wisconsin's library systems and library system law have removed most of the political barriers to library service. For many Wisconsin residents, this has greatly improved access to convenient and high quality library service.

Public library service in Wisconsin is largely funded and governed at the municipal level. Municipal libraries are often a source of great community pride, and, as a result, often benefit not only from municipal tax support, but also from generous gifts, donations and volunteer support.

The quality of municipal libraries in Wisconsin ranges from excellent to poor. On average, residents of library communities supported library service at an average of $30.94 per capita, but some Wisconsin municipalities support their library at less than $2 per capita. There are currently no state tools to mandate local library service quality. Counties do have the authority to establish enforceable library standards."

Quoted from the Wisconsin Public Library Legislation and Funding Task Force.

I am sure Judy could let us know which end of the spectrum the Franklin Public Library sits at.

Since library's are also funded from generous gifts, donations and volunteer support. I am sure that Greg's CCD citizens group (who supports private funding efforts) and the Franklin Friends of the Library will be contacting those interested in giving up those cups of coffee in the near future if the State cuts funding for Libraries.

BTW John - I really liked your I-Pad!

online job

if all the government action is like this. the public will gladly pay their taxes.

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