A brief history of Keizer library efforts

Keizer has a somewhat fraught history of investigating what it would take to establish its own public library. 

In the summer of 2000, the Keizer City Council rejected an attempt to place a measure on the ballots would have extended the Salem Area Library District into Keizer. The main concern was that there was no assurance a Keizer-based branch would be established. Instead, it commissioned a task force.

In 2001, the first Keizer Library Task Force came back with a split recommendation. One faction wanted a traditional library that met the threshold of membership in the Chemeketa Cooperative Regional Library Service, which would give it access to library materials throughout the region. Another faction advanced the idea of a 21st Century library focused on providing access to technology with a smaller collection of books and periodicals. 

A second library task force convened in 2002. It recommended moving forward with the 21st Century library so long as an agreement could be reached that included membership in the CCRLS. 

In 2004, a third iteration of the library task force tried to negotiate with CCRLS for an agreement that would allow the issue to be put to voters. CCRLS was unsatisfied with the groundwork Keizer had done because no professional librarian had been part of the process. Keizer enlisted the help of a library consultant, Ruth Metz Associates, and conducted a poll of Keizer residents. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed supported a new library and roughly 47 percent said they would support it through a new tax. 

When the city council received the report, it agreed to put the measure on the ballot if the supporters raised half of the $40,000 it would take to do so. The money never materialized and the economy was tanking as a result of the Great Recession at about the same time. 

The new effort is hoping to build on the work that has come before with an actual library proposal, not the 21st Century model.