Proposition L

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Proposition L?
Proposition L is a ballot measure that was overwhelmingly approved by the voters of University City on April 2, 2019. This proposition asked the voters of the University City Public Library District for an increase of twelve cents ($0.12) per $100 of assessed valuation over the previous property tax levy for the purposes of renovating, improving, operating, and maintaining University City Public Library facilities, and for improving Library services.

How will the 12-cent increase be spent?
While a specific cent-by-cent breakdown is still in the process of being developed, the increase will go toward building renovations and maintenance, and supporting existing and future Library services. University City Public Library Trustees and administration will also use the funding to support pay parity for Library staff members.

When will property owners have to pay this increase?
The tax will go into effect in December 2019.

What renovations will be completed with the tax levy increase?
Replace heating and air conditioning systems to increase energy efficiency
Update & upgrade lighting
Update bathrooms for ADA compliance
Remove or abate hazardous materials
Replace plumbing systems
Install new electrical distribution
Tuck-point exterior walls
Replace and re-seal windows
Replace carpeting throughout the Library
Update telephone, voice & data, and alarm systems

When will work begin?
Our tentative plan is to finish working up a renovation plan in 2019 and put out a request for proposals for construction companies in early 2020. Work will hopefully begin shortly thereafter.

Will the public have a chance to weigh in on the building renovations?
Absolutely! The Library will host several open meetings at which members of the public will be invited to offer their opinions on renovations. Keep an eye on this page, on our Facebook page, and on Checkout, our monthly newsletter, for more information on when these meetings will be happening.

Will the Library be closed during renovation?
We hope not. Library leaders have told the architects and engineers that all plans and schedules should have options for keeping at least part of the building open throughout, perhaps closing one floor of the building while occupying the other floor. No matter what, we'll do our best to balance the cost of the options with the needs and the safety of the community.

How will the renovation help fix the overcrowding problems in the University City Public Library building?
A renovation would include reconfiguring the basement level and repurposing underutilized spaces. The renovation would also include a redesign of the interior space and appointments, allowing for better service to the public and improved efficiency of staff.

Will parking spaces be added?
No land will be purchased with proceeds from the tax increase. However, reconfiguration of the parking lot has the potential to add a few parking spaces.

Will the exterior of the building be changed?
No exterior changes are planned. Any exterior changes would require approval of the University City Historic Preservation Commission. That said, the tax increase includes funds to repair some exterior elements, including tuck-pointing of the brick and repairing cracks in the foundation. The majority of the funds will be spent to renovate and improve the interior space.

What professional assistance has the library obtained to develop the renovation plan?
Within the past year, Library administrators have gone through the building with staff from University City’s Community Development and Public Works departments to assess problem areas and possible solutions. No formal plan has yet been adopted, but Library Trustees and administrators are working with licensed architects to incorporate the renovations suggested by University City during walkthroughs into the renovation plan. Cost estimates will be included in the final plan.

Has the library hired a professional architect to draw plans?
The Library has been working with Bond Architects to create a renovation plan. A formal contract with Bond is expected in the near future.

What is the size of the collection at the University City Public Library?
As of December 2018 the University City Public Library collection has more than 220,000 items, including books, audio books, music CDs, DVDs, and magazines.

How many items are checked out of the University City Public Library?
In fiscal year 2018 (July 2017 through June 2018), the total circulation of library materials, including downloadable e-books and audiobooks, was 371,658, an increase of 3.4% over the previous year. This recent circulation represents an increase of 37% since 1990, the last time voters approved a tax increase.

How many people use the University City Public Library?
Over 192,000 people visited University City Public Library during fiscal year 2018, and there were another 427,732 virtual visits to the UCPL website and online catalog. The Library has more than 42,000 registered users, a number that does not include cardholders from the other member libraries of the Municipal Library Consortium. The Library’s public access computers were used 41,640 times; there were 48,632 wireless internet sessions; and the auditorium and small meeting rooms were used 2,464 times during fiscal year 2018.

With people using laptops, smart phones, and computers at home, why does the Library need so many computers?
Some patrons have no computer; some have no Internet access; others utilize the UCPL computers for high-speed access. Many companies as well as the State of Missouri require job applications be filled out online. The 28 public access computers at UCPL are available for people who need Internet, printing, and software that is available at the Library. As a community service, the Library also offers free computer classes to those who wish to learn skills or learn additional skills.

Why does the library use so much space for things other than books?
The University City Public Library is dedicated to providing lifelong learning and entertainment opportunities for its patrons. This means providing a wide range of educational and entertaining items, including DVDs, computers, audiobooks, music CDs, video cameras, and telescopes, as well as books. Additionally, the Library is a community center, with many meetings taking place in our auditorium and meeting rooms.

This information was prepared by the University City Public Library