The anticipation is killing me. Looks like we will not know the results till tomorrow, maybe? Randy Corman said it may end up being a recount but I wondered if in a local election like this if that is going to happen and if it does happen who pays for it.

Everyone who voted should track their ballot to make sure that their vote has been counted, especially those who dropped their ballot in the box that was left on Grady Way. You can check the status of your ballot here.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that those last votes are on our side.

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In the early 1900’s Renton was a small coal mining village.    Renton’s original “Library” consisted of a storefront collection of donated books organized by the Miner’s Association and the Citizens of Renton in 1904.  It was originally located over a general store owned by Robert Woods, Sr. located on the corner of Walla Walla Avenue and Main Street, Later the library moved to the other end of a small confectionery store in the David J. Jones building on the corner of 3rd Ave. and Wells Street.  This early storefront library even had a librarian, Blanche Pritchard, whose monthly salary was $35.00.

In 1913, a small group of citizens formed themselves into an informal committee and library support group, and they obtained a grant to build a new library.  Construction of the original red brick building (located in what is now Liberty Park) was started with a $10,000 grant provided by Andrew Carnegie on land donated by Rafael Sartori, and was open for business in the spring of 1914.  The City Council appropriated $1,000 for salaries and maintenance (but no money for books). While no money was appropriated for materials, the library was able to build a collection with discarded books from the Seattle Public Library and the Tacoma Library. In addition to these discards the supporters of the library were able to expand the collection through fundraising and additional book donations from the community of approximately 4,000 people.

With the development of the Boeing Company in the 1940’s, there was a dramatic increase in Renton’s population, creating a “boom town” of more than 18,000.  In January of 1947, Highlands, which had previously housed a branch of the King County Library system, was annexed to the City of Renton.  Renton Library was now a “system,” with a Main library and a branch library.  Funds were inadequate for the operation of library service in one facility, and now there were two.  Once again, in the 1960s, a citizen’s committee, spearheaded by the Greater Renton Chamber of Commerce worked with the League of Women Voters to pass a bond measure for the establishment of a new public library.  Funds provided by the City of Renton and a bond measure of $150,000, passed by the voters of the city on November 3, 1964, made possible the construction of the current library, completed in 1967 and located over the Cedar River, which flows through the heart of the city.  In 1973, a new building for the Highlands branch was also built.

Community activists established a Renton Historical Collection and a Society to preserve Renton history.  Volunteers collected and preserved artifacts, books, letters, photographs and other treasures, many of which are still preserved in the Pacific Northwest collection today.   

Today, Renton’s population is over 88,000, and with the annexations of nearby unincorporated areas of King County, it is growing rapidly.

Throughout its long and colorful history of over a hundred years, Renton Library has always been a legacy of and for the people of Renton.  Libraries are first and foremost community centers, and the citizens of Renton have demonstrated repeatedly how important their community library is to them by both their activism and their votes. In February, Renton residents will again have a chance to show their support for the library that has been a part of the Renton community for the last 100 years.

Since we are not able to let you print flyers and posters from this blog we have set-up a website so that you can print materials directly.

Please feel free to print out the flyers to pass out to your friends or lovers of the library. We also have a poster that can be put in your car that would help really get the word on the street about the election.

Thanks to all of you who visit this blog regularly and comment, please help us spread the word about the election and tell your friends, coworkers and fellow lovers of the library to help keep the library local.

Click here to visit our new website.

If you are reading this blog you probably know that there is going to be a special election in February that will determine the fate of the Renton Public Library. In February Renton voters will be deciding whether or not to annex to the King County Library System. The point of this blog is to give voters as many facts as possible before they make a decision that will affect the future of an integral piece of the Renton community, the Renton Public Libraries.

Some of the things that will be discussed on this blog in the next 7 weeks are:

  • How the annexation affects taxes to Renton residents
  • The issue of giving up local control of the library
  • How the annexation will affect Renton Public Library employees
  • How annexation will affect services and materials at the current Renton libraries
  • Possible alternatives to annexation
  • Reactions of other city libraries that have annexed to KCLS

That is a basic list of topics that could be potentially covered here, we will be covering whatever needs to be covered as this campaign unfolds.

At this time we are openly inviting anyone associated with KCLS or those in favor of annexation to contact us to share facts and information that they think the voters should know as well. Please feel free to leave a comment or if you wish to contact us in a more “off the record” manner feel free to use the contact form that will be featured at the end of each blog.

We hope that you will contribute to the discussion about this possible annexation because it is really the citizens of Renton as well as library patrons that will be affected the most. Please tell your friends, family, acquaintances and fellow library lovers that there are a lot of facts that need to be known before a decision can be made.

Thanks for reading and now let the facts fly.