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Voter Information About the Detroit Public Library Millage


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Detroit Public Library system is used every year by visitors who go to one of 22 locations located throughout the city.  Last year these visitors checked out more than 1.8 million items, had more than 800,000 questions answered by its reference service and logged onto library computers more than 700,000 times.  The computers that are available to the public at each branch and the WiFi service offered by each branch are a critical part of efforts to overcome the digital divide.

What is Proposal L?

On August 5 Detroit voters will be asked whether they want the library to continue serving the people of Detroit.  On the Primary Election ballot is Proposal L, which would provide for a 10-year renewal of the 4 mill property tax that generates the largest portion of the library system’s operating expenses.  The proposal will not increase anyone’s taxes.  It merely continues a levy that has been in place the past 10 years that provides critical support to the library.

What does it mean to Detroit?

Renewal of the millage will allow the Detroit Public Library to continue serving Detroiters.  Failure of the millage would force closure of the library.

How the Detroit Public Library serves you;

As many Detroiters continue to struggle with economic hardship, a high illiteracy rate and lack of access to technology, Detroit Public Library services are integral to Detroit residents’ quality-of-life. With more than 5,700 separate programs, Detroit Public Library locations serve as centers for youth, teenagers and adults to engage in free educational and leisure activities. Last year more than 200,000 Detroiters attended these sessions.


How the Detroit Public Library Serves Detroit

The Detroit Public Library provides services to address some of Detroiters’ greatest needs. Here’s how we help...

Less than 40% of Detroiters have broadband internet access

  • DPL has over 700 computers available to visitors
  • 702,000 visitors sign-in on library computers annually
  • DPL offers broadband Internet and WiFi to visitors; free wireless access to those who use electronic devices in the library
  • DPL libraries offer daily technical assistance and computer lessons
  • Assists in finding jobs for Detroit residents

About 60% of Detroit children live in poverty

  • DPL offers free summer reading programs for Detroit youth
  • DPL’s “HYPE: Helping Young People Excel”  teaches Detroit teens career & life skills

Nearly 50% of Detroiters are functionally illiterate

  • DPL’s Detroit Reads! Program pairs adult learners with certified tutors
  • DPL’s “TLC: Technology, Literacy and Career Center” provides adults with tutoring sessions
  • DPL’s “Book Club in a Bag” allows Detroiters to have book clubs anywhere
  • DPL’s Bookmobile brings resources to schools, youth groups & seniors

Frequently Asked Questions

It takes a strong public to build a strong library 

Q.  Does anybody use the Library these days?
A.  Most definitely.  The Main Library and its 21 branches were visited last year by users of all ages ranging from pre-school children to seniors.

Q: How did they use the library?
A: These visitors checked out more than 1.8 million books and other items, received answers to more than 800,000 questions from the library’s reference service, logged onto library computers more than 700,000 times and accessed the WiFi service offered by every library location.

Q. Will Proposal L increase my taxes?
A.  No.  Proposal L will not increase your taxes.  It simply renews the current property tax that is the library’s main source of support.

Q. What would happen if the millage is not approved by voters?

A.  The Detroit Public Library would be forced to shut down all of its operations.  The millage provides 86 percent of the library’s operating funds.  Without those funds the library simply could no longer serve the public.

Q.  How can I learn more about the Proposal L?

A.  For additional information about Proposal L, including arranging a speaker to address neighborhood and church groups, or any community organizations, please call 313-481-1339.


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Special Services

Resources for making career decisions, strategizing your job search, and finding job listings are available in the Technology, Literacy and Career (TLC) Center at the Main Library.

Services for the blind, the visually handicapped, the physically handicapped, or reading disabled.

Learn to read or improve your reading skills at Main Library or the Parkman Branch. Join the Detroit Public Library’s literacy campaign Detroit Reads!

Welcome to HYPE, the Detroit Public Library's Teen Center.

Library On Wheels (LOW) brings books and other reading materials, audiocassettes and information to Detroit's seniors and schools.

The Detroit Public Library now subscribes to OverDrive Digital Media, which provides access to eBooks and audiobooks on a wide variety of portable devices and e-readers.