Town Square

What do we want our libraries to DO?

Original post made by Valerie Hunt Stinger, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2006

Much has been written in local papers about the recommendations for the libraries and about the constituent groups. Community groups and individuals have been vocal and have written to the City Council and the Library Advisory Commission (LAC).

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Posted by Noah
a resident of University South
on Aug 12, 2006 at 8:16 am

I have two simple requests, and neither are urgent. My family pretty much loves the libraries just as they are. We are regular visitors of the downtown branch, and occasionally visit the main branch when the downtown is closed on Sundays. I also spent many long Sundays at the main branch studying for an evening Masters program and can say it was a great location well balanced with staff, services, and visitors of all ages.

1. Better hours at the downtown branch. It doesn't have to be much - say a few new hours on a weeknight and/or Sunday. This library is great, but for working adults is almost off-limits with it's very part-time hours.

2. Join the Link-Plus inter-library loan/catalog system. I don't know all of the details here, but from what I've read it's a very easy way to vastly expand our collection and share reciprocally with other local libraries. As long as there are no large or unreasonable costs, this seems like a no-brainer.

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Posted by Michael Reynolds
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 12, 2006 at 12:11 pm

I have FOUR requests:

1. Look for reasonable ways to generate revenue from library FEES.
e.g., Stop operating libraries as a free alternative to Blockbuster Video, and do as other libraries do and charge a modest $1 FEE to check out an Audi-Visual item. At the same time, do as other libraries do and charge a modest $0.75 FEE for each HOLD request on library materials. Finally, do as other libraries do and charge non-residents a modest annual or per-item FEE for access to Palo Alto libraries. (Total annual fee revenue est. $400,000+ at current circulation/usage patterns.)

2. During this year that the Children's Library is being remodeled, SAVE all of the money that's been budgeted for new children's materials (est. $100,000+). For just this year when space is tight for children's materials, let our children rely on our already excellent children's collection.

3. INVEST this year's $500,000 revenue/savings and invest each subsequent year's $400,000 revenue/savings in labor-saving Library Technology.

4. Rely on labor-saving new technology to REDUCE costly library headcount (est. $100,000+/year, fully burdened, for each position.)

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Posted by K
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 10, 2006 at 6:41 pm

I am a professional librarian and my main issue with the Palo Alto library system and the endless multi-library branch vs. budget reality argument is that we (the city, the residents, the library system) ought to learn from neighbouring cities that have moved ahead with library expansions, or facility or program changes....there are so many excellent examples around us, like Santa Clara...why don't we ever look at best practices in this region?