The July 5 article about "Friends" groups has some strange and inaccurate statements about Friends of the Palo Alto Library (FOPAL) that need correction.
"City leaders say they don't understand why they don't receive more of the donations." They aren't spending much of the existing donations.
Two years ago, FOPAL granted $10,000 for foreign-language books, but only $5,588 has been spent. Last year, staff requested $18,500 to lease best sellers, $19,900 for 1,000 new books, $7,000 for teen paperbacks, $2,538 for paperbacks and $7,906 for DVDs for Main and Mitchell Park libraries.
FOPAL approved all $55,844. Spending to date: $17,969 to lease best sellers, nothing for those other collection items. The library survey last February found expanding the collection is the public's highest priority -- $41,756 for collections is available but unspent.
FOPAL is discussing grant requests for this year. Library staff requested only $148,500, of which $15,000 is for books and $25,000 is to lease new books. This seems low, particularly when patrons want more materials on the shelves.
Lenore Jones is quoted as saying that FOPAL doesn't always look at the whole picture. Untrue. It was FOPAL that got funding to install wireless hot spots in all branches, provided color laser printers and 17 laptops for use by patrons, pays for on-line subscriptions and is in the forefront of adapting Link+ for Palo Alto's library software currently incompatible with Link+.
Link+ gives access to more than 4.5 million unique titles and more than 15 million books. Staff hasn't requested it yet.
FOPAL provides more funding and support than the library seems able to utilize.