On the upcoming November ballot is a $7 million library bond. San Juan College would be allocated about $103,000 and Farmington Municipal Schools would receive $44,000 if the bond passes.
The most recent library bond in 2008 narrowly passed with 52 percent statewide. Despite $150,000 of the 2008 bond designated to the college's library, that bond failed in San Juan County by 1,450 votes. There were 18,753 votes in favor of the bond and 20,203 against it in the county.
More than 50 percent of the San Juan College library's operational budget is funded with the general obligation library bond voted on every two years, Schipper said. The 2008 votes was the closest election in recent memory, he said.
The money is used to buy books, subscriptions to research materials, make technological advancements and train staff, he said.
"It's completely essential, we really live or die by it," Schipper said. "If the bond doesn't pass this time, this library would be faced with having to cut some of our subscriptions to our print resources. There would be some really unpleasant and tough decisions that we would have to make."
The New Mexico Department of Finance estimates the library bond would raise property taxes a total of $4.54 per $100,000 of assessed value over the next 10 years.
"This is an investment in all of our futures," Schipper said. "This is pennies on the dollar and money that I can't imagine being better spent because it's the future of your children.
"Of course, this year we would love to see it pass in our own county," he said.
Fewer library resources also would lead to fewer campus jobs offered to students, Schipper said.
"We have students who don't have a strong familiarity with using computers, or don't own computers or don't have Internet access at home," he said. "For those students the resources we have are absolutely essential. I think there's a misperception that with the Internet, libraries are at risk of becoming obsolete when we stand to assist people as they navigate through a sea of information."
On Wednesday an advanced composition course received a tour of the library and a tutorial on how to use the advanced research materials for course work. The students' teacher, Kimberly Williams, said downgrading the library's materials would affect every student at the college, whether they were studying health science or creative writing.
Last year's election results "tell me that (local voters) don't understand how crucial this institution is to the community," Williams said. "There are things here that can't be found anywhere else in the county. It's a really important place."
Ryan Boetel: firstname.lastname@example.org