Voters to decide on $142 million library bond in November

New libraries planned for Rolesville, Apex, Raleigh and Wendell

A $142 million bond to build, expand and renovate local libraries is officially headed for the ballot in November. The Wake County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution calling for the Nov. 5 bond referendum following a public hearing at today’s meeting.

“This is a significant step toward enhancing our library system to better serve the diverse needs of our community,” said Wake County Commissioner Cheryl Stallings. “This bond will allow us to build new libraries, expand existing ones and ensure our facilities remain state-of-the-art and accessible to all residents."

The bond referendum aims to address the growing need for top-notch library services across Wake County. If approved by voters, the $142 million bond will fund various library capital projects beginning in fiscal year 2026. This initiative is a critical component of Wake County’s Strategic Plan, specifically supporting the goal to ensure high-quality education-based facilities, including libraries, by 2029.

Wake County currently anticipates a $2.50 tax increase (per $100,000 of assessed valuation) per year would be necessary in fiscal year 2026 if the bond is approved by voters. Staff would need to reassess and confirm the appropriate tax increase in early 2025 as part of the fiscal year 2026 budget process. It would go into effect July 1, 2025.

Project Breakdown
Currently, almost all Wake County residents live within 20 minutes of a Wake County Public Libraries facility. Nearly 99% have a 15-minute travel time, and 84.7% are within 10 minutes of a branch. Projects funded by the proposed bond would bring the percentage of Wake County residents in that 10-minute category up to 87%.

Potential projects include:

  • A new community library in Rolesville: Rolesville is the only municipality in Wake County that doesn’t currently have a library, and it is one of the fastest-growing communities.
  • A new community library in the Friendship area of Apex: This library would help meet the needs of the area’s growing population.
  • Replacement of the Athens Drive Community Library: When the Wake County Public School System renovates Athens Drive High School in 2026, a new library will need to be built to serve this area.
  • Replacement of the Wendell Community Library: The smallest library in the system is no longer adequate to serve the rapidly growing Wendell population.
  • A new facility, TBD: The board will continue to consider options to address needs throughout Wake County, including digital equity concerns and providing more library services to underserved populations.
  • Expansion of the Fuquay-Varina Community Library: In Fiscal year 2024, this library has seen the highest circulation of all community libraries — and even more than several regional libraries. This will expand the facility from a community library to a regional library.
  • Renovations: Express Library – Fayetteville Street, Green Road Community Library, Leesville Community Library, Library Administration Building, Northeast Regional Library, Richard B. Harrison Community Library, Southeast Regional Library and Zebulon Community Library. Projects will focus on aging facilities, system replacements, furniture and other upgrades.

Wake County last held a bond referendum for libraries in October 2007 to fund $45 million in renovations, replacements and expansions. This referendum passed with 70% voter approval.

Press Release