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Library upgrades jump to $80 million
Original post made
by Over Taxed, Midtown,
on Feb 5, 2008
Revamping Palo Alto's libraries will cost $80 million -- about $35 million more than was estimated this time last year -- a dismayed City Council learned Monday night.
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Tuesday, February 5, 2008, 2:19 PM
Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 7, 2008 at 12:36 am
RS, [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Our community appears to value the branch library system, and has clearly stated that they want improved collections and facilities. There has been a run up in cost, but that cost is counterweighted by the great value that libraries bring to community.
What's interesting about the 23 studies is that they were used by virtually every city that funded them, to help pass a library bond.
Whether or not you agree with the studies - studies designed by prominent econometricians and demographers, and modeled with stark conservatism - they do show a return in value for communities that results in a positive return on investment for tax dollars spent.
I have openly challenged those who disagree with those studies to counter with studies of their own that refute these findings. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
All that aside, Palo Alto does enjoy a wonderful bevy of services. Most of our citizens want to keep those services. the last City Council (and hopefully, this one) have been able to maintain a consistent focus to accomplish goals that are consistent with sustainable infrastructure, fiscal soundness, and community satisfaction. Occasionally, they've stumbled, but on balance they have done a great job.
RS, I would urge you to attend some Saturday story times in the branches, or stand by for an hour or two in the afternoon to watch people of all stripes sauntering in and out of our various libraries. It's really an amazing this to see - persons of all ages, able to take for granted that a *place* that permits them social companionship, search for wonder, educational improvement, etc. etc. is simple THERE for them. This is a wonderful PRIVILEGE. It's Ben Franklin's dream. It's the Public Library - one of the last truly democratic institutions in existence.
We receive SO much (I've written about all the things we get from library - many times) from the library.
We have a wonderful Friends of the Library Program. They do book sales with hundreds of volunteers. What's the joy of contributing to community worth, in dollars? We know from recent research that volunteering makes for a healthier mind, and body. That's a value that wouldn't exist without our library.
What's it worth to have a safe place for your child to go after school, to do homework, socialize with friends, discover new ideas, etc.? It's a priceless thing.
What we need to do is think about what we *wouldn't have* if our libraries were not present - ALL of them, all the branches.
Cost IS an important factor, but we are foolish not to consider the benefits that library has brought our community. Our branch library system is one of the jewels of our community.
Again, you may disagree, but if you do, you owe it to yuorself and everyone you spread negative information about the library to, to look carefully at the full value of the library as an institution. Not just your use of it, but the collective use of the library by our community. That, sadly, is not the way things are usually done.
We're talking about $180 per year for the average household (with seniors probably able to exempt themselves, if they want) to maintain a crown jewel - for everyone, for the common good.
I love out little College Terrace branch. I've seen thoudands and thousands of kids use that library over the years, and now more and more seniors are using it, every day. What's that worth to our community? There is no way to value ALL that the library is, or does,
The 23 studies are only a SMALL part of the picture. Our libraries pay back FAR more than we invest in them, just like other essential services - like public transport, education, public safety, and a few others. We ignore these things at our peril, and if we fail to fund them, we have only ourselves to blame for the decrease in overall quality of life that this wonderful place, and the good people in it, have come to expect, deserve, and are willing to pay for (as shown in vote after vote, where the large majority has said "YES", only to have its wish turned away by a determined minority - the latter who has had its numbers bumped up at the last minute through misinformation, and small minds.