A Bit of Good News in a County That Closed All Its Libraries

Route Fifty: Last spring, the library system in cash-strapped Douglas County, Oregon, found itself in an unusually difficult position. Voters in the largely conservative and impoverished county had rejected a vote in November 2016 to create special taxing district to fund the area’s public libraries. When local commissioners declined to find alternate funding, the 11-branch system initiated a phased shut-down until the last location, in the county seat of Roseburg, closed its doors for good in June.

The drastic decision to shutter Douglas County’s libraries brought national attention, including from The New York Times, which in May featured the strong anti-tax sentiments in southwest Oregon, “where a handful of rural counties are showing what happens when citizens push the logic of shrinking government to its extremes.”

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