I grew up spending so much time inside my local library in my small hometown in Kentucky. It was one of the rare places that was free and open to my family, since we didn't have a lot nearby. I remember the joy about picking out my weekly library book feeling the exact same as the joy of walking through the aisles of Blockbuster looking for your favorite movie did.

Teacher and school kid using digital table in library at school

So hearing that Jamestown, Michigan has voted against passing their town's millage was a little heartbreaking to say the least, because that means there could be children in that community (like I was) that are missing out on that magical escape

But does this mean the Jamestown Library is no more? Not exactly.

What is a millage?

This term was new to me as an outsider, but it turns out some of my Michigan friends didn't know what it meant. So, to start: the millage rate is the number of dollars of tax assessed for each $1,000 of property value.

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Millage is a relatively obscure term that represents the tax rate levied on real estate or other property. A mill is one thousandth of a dollar, or one tenth of one cent. Meaning if a something has a rate of 5, mills means that $5 in tax is levied for every $1000 of value.

What happens now that the Jamestown Millage failed to pass?

Currently, 85% of the Jamestown Library's budget is funded by the previous millage and taxpayers in the area.


According to WoodTV, in August the original funding measure failed by just over 700 votes, because of some people in the community being upset about books that were being offered to be checked out.

Row of of colorful books on background

After that, concerned citizens started a GoFundMe for the library, raising $265,000 towards preserving the library, including a $50,000 donation from romance novelist, Nora Roberts.

As of now, the milage cannot return to the ballot for the remainder of the year according to Michigan law, so hope is hanging thin for those who support the library, but as of now there is no clear plan on what they will do going forward.

Supporters of the library may push to pay for it's funding, but experts say the outlook may be grim in the long term unless the library gets more solid funding.

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