I have been thinking about this a lot lately in the times I have used the library. I live about half way between Main Library and Mitchell Park Library and I use both depending on what errands I am running at the time. If I am going to the Library and nothing else, it is really a case of eeny, meeny, miny, mo and I usually pick the library where what I want is checked out.
So this is what I want. I want a library that is not necessarily close to me as I tend to go to the library en route with other errands. This means that it doesn't matter to me where it is as long as it isn't by the Post Office, which I never use because it is so far out of my way and I would rather use the Mountain View P.O. as it is close to other places I am ging. I want a library that has what I want when I want it. In other words, when I get there I want to be able to find the book or whatever there waiting for me, not find out that the only copy not checked out is at a different branch. I want to find the book that I want available in Palo Alto and not be told by a very helpful librarian that I could try Los Altos or Mountain View which has happened recently. I want the library to take my suggestions sensibly. I recently asked for the earlier books in a series to be purchased and was told that they do not have funds for books which were published in the 90s. This seemed very odd to me as the recently published books in the series are always on hold and I have to wait for them. This shows that the series is popular and I can't be the only person who wants to read the first books in a popular series before reading the later books. I also want my requests to be made in such a way that the reply is emailed to me, or at least one stamp used rather than a separate letter for each request in the same series. I want to be able to use the internet within a 90 minute wait when my email at home is down and I just want to check my email and a couple of other things quickly. I want to be able to park or leave my bike outside safely and my children to be able to get their books or materials while I get mine.
I know that there is a petition to get the Mitchell Park library improved and I would definitely be behind this if it were to become our main and only library. I think that we need one excellent library for the above reasons. I used to think that it was a wonderful idea having so many libraries in different neighbourhoods, but my opinion has changed. I can't understand how the service meets our needs at present - it doesn't meet mine and I have seen so many complaints about this that I know I am not the only one. Once again Palo Alto seems to be surrounded by communities that have done something better than us. I would really like Palo Alto to be the leader rather than the poor relation and libraries could be an excellent way to start.