Why does Palo Alto have libraries?
Original post made by David, Professorville, on Oct 23, 2006
This has been bothering me for some time. We have all these emotional arguments about the purpose and configuration of the PA libraries but fundamental questions never get asked. We live next to one of the largest library systems in the world, that of Stanford University. I assume they know how to efficiently run a library system. Has anybody ever investigated the possibility of contracting out management of the Palo Alto system to Stanford? After all, Stanford buys services (police, fire, etc.) from Palo Alto when they see that it is cost effective. Why can't we do the same? And imagine having access to a merged collection. Alternatively, why not investigate closing the PA libraries and buy all residents access to the Stanford system. Then the library buildings could be converted to teen homework centers and meeting space (which effectively they are now) without the necessity of buying all those books and periodicals and paying for professional research staff when all that is needed is someone to clean up and keep order. Most cities of Palo Alto's size do not have their own library system; they are part of a county library system. How did this come about? I have visited the county library in Davis and it seemed every bit as well equipped as Palo Alto's. Is it more or less efficient to have a city system? David