The Mid-Continent Public Library has been in the news lately because some members of the Board of Trustees didn’t approve the annual budget. I watched some of these meetings, and it seemed like a good time to ask – Is the library a good value for my family?
My family has lived in the same house in Platte County for over 24 years now. I looked up our property taxes, and last year we paid around $140 in taxes to the library. Over the last 24 years, the library has cost us roughly $3360.
What did I get in return for my money? Well, my library account tells me I checked out 19 books last year. On Amazon, an average book costs around $14. Nineteen books per year, multiplied by $14 a book, times 24 years is $6384. The subscription to Consumer Reports that I use pretty regularly is another $30/year savings. The Audible subscription that I don’t need because of the library? That’s another $14.95 that stays in my pocket every month. The ACT prep course for my son saved me at least a Benjamin Franklin or two. I just reserved an Evergy Power Check Meter to measure how much electricity my appliances use, and the next time I need to renew my passport I plan to do that at the library as well. Basically we use the heck out of the library. My $3360 investment has paid for itself twice over and then some.
If you live in Platte County and want to do a similar comparison, you can look up your own property taxes at https://www.plattecountycollector.com/. If you want to see what the library offers, you can check out https://www.mymcpl.org/ or visit a branch. If you want to watch the board meetings or see other programming, visit https://www.youtube.com/user/MCPLMO. If you don’t have a computer or an internet connection, or don’t know how to use it, the library can help you with that as well.
The library is a good value for the folks who live around here. For a more prosperous Platte County, we don’t need to reduce the taxes that fund the library, we just need to encourage more people to use it. Going forward, I hope all twelve members of the MCPL Board of Trustees will support the library and its mission to enrich our citizens and communities through expanding access to innovation, information, ideas, and inspiration.
--Theresa Fitzpatrick Kansas City in Platte County