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Library campaign committee formed

The campaign committee for a half-cent sales tax to build new Fargo city libraries is making plans to get the word out before the November election -- and stay within a proposed $8,000 budget.

The campaign committee for a half-cent sales tax to build new Fargo city libraries is making plans to get the word out before the November election -- and stay within a proposed $8,000 budget.

"Primarily it's going to be a person-to-person campaign," said Virginia Dambach, chairwoman of Citizens for Better Libraries.

By the end of an organizational meeting on Thursday, the group had raised about $2,300, Dambach said, including $1,200 from the Friends of the Library.

The Fargo Public Library is looking to Citizens for Better Libraries to advocate for a "Yes" vote for the half-cent sales tax proposal on the November ballot. The library cannot use its own money or staff to promote the tax because it is funded by taxpayers.

Instead, the campaign group, advised by library board members and two city commissioners, is developing a Web site and creating pamphlets, fliers and posters for distribution. The Web site and brochure should be ready next week, Dambach said.

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The pamphlet will show a teenage boy dressed in the clothes of a 10-year-old with the message, "Fargo has grown ... our library has not. A new library is long overdue."

Supporters also plan to speak to local organizations and civic clubs.

City commissioners voted last month to put the tax, called an amendment to the city's Home Rule Charter, on the November ballot. The amendment requires 60 percent approval to pass.

The tax would expire after 18 months. The estimated $12 million generated by the tax would pay for three libraries, including a $3 million branch on the south end of town, a $500,000 branch in north Fargo and a $9 million main library to replace the downtown library.

"The need is so obvious and so clear," said City Commissioner Linda Coates, an adviser to the committee. "I think the town is ready for a new library."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Domaskin at (701) 241-5556

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