Measure L

Pasadena Library Services

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CITY OF PASADENA—Would continue the voter-approved annual parcel tax, currently $41 for single-family residences and condominium units and specified rates for other parcel types, in order to keep libraries well-maintained, provide books/materials, youth reading/homework programs, and more. Measure L requires at least ⅔ of voters approving to pass.

Fiscal Impact: Would generate $2.8 million annually for each of the 15 years it is in effect.

Next Los Angeles County Measure: Proposition LH



Proponents of Measure L argue that it is not a new tax and does not raise any existing taxes. They argue Pasadena’s libraries are heavily used (over a million visits a year!), and without Measure L, the existing library tax will soon expire, permanently cutting library funding by 20%. They argue libraries provide resources many kids simply don’t have at home: safe, quiet places to study; good computer access; tutoring and homework assistance.

A YES vote on this measure means: The City could continue funding library operations and services for the next 15 years, with the fund being subject to annual independent audits.


No official argument against was submitted for this measure.

A NO vote on this measure means: The current library tax payments will cease in February 2023 and the City would lose approximately $2.8 million annually, which will lead to neighborhood branch library.

In Depth

The “Pasadena Public Library Services Continuation Measure” was placed on the ballot by the Pasadena City Council.  The Measure is not a new tax.  The Measure seeks to maintain a revenue source that has been in existence over the last 29 years, and is set to expire in February 2023, unless voters authorize an extension by a two-thirds majority.

In June of 1993, voters established an initial five-year special tax to save the Pasadena Public Library’s existing services and operations.  This special tax has since been extended twice with more than the required two-thirds support of all voters in 1997 (10 years) and 2007 (15 years). The Measure would continue to protect current funding levels for the next 15 years, supporting existing library operations and services, including helping to:  

  • Maintain library book/materials collections;
  • Maintain youth reading/homework/college preparation programs;
  • Keep libraries safe and well-maintained;
  • Ensure computer and Wi-Fi access for all library users;
  • Maintain literacy programs;
  • Retain qualified librarians;
  • Prevent the closure of a number of neighborhood branch libraries.

If the existing funding through the Measure is not maintained, the City would lose approximately 20% of the library budget or $2.8 million annually, which may lead to the closure of neighborhood library branches, a reduction of books and collections, a reduction in library hours, the loss of qualified librarians, and cuts in other significant programs and services offered to our community.  The tax currently is approximately $41 annually for single-family residences/ condominium units and specified rates for other parcel types.  The Measure will continue these rates, limiting annual increases to the Consumer Price Index.  Exemptions are provided for qualified low income property owners.  If the measure fails, library tax payments will end when the current tax expires in February 2023.

The Measure, which will protect current funding levels, would be subject to annual independent audits.  Revenue from the Measure cannot be used for anything but operating the library system serving the community. Revenue from the measure cannot be used for capital improvement.

Source: City Attorney's Impartial Analysis of Measure L

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