Why no applicants for library commission? | January 25, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 25, 2013

Why no applicants for library commission?

Council concludes panel is 'viable' but reduces membership to five

by Chris Kenrick

Why didn't anybody apply for a recent vacancy on Palo Alto's Library Advisory Commission?

The dearth of applicants for the advisory panel to the City Council — despite recruitment efforts from July to October — led to a council inquiry on the "viability" of the commission.

The council concluded this week that the commission indeed serves a useful purpose after hearing so from Library Director Monique le Conge and library commissioners themselves.

But council members voted to reduce the number of commissioners from seven to five — a more "manageable" number, le Conge said, and one they hope will ease recruitment troubles in the future.

With library use steady and residents consistently rating libraries as one of their most-valued city services, the lack of applicants for the commission following the July 2012 resignation of Noel Bakhtian remained something of a mystery.

Councilman Larry Klein in October asked for a discussion of the viability of the commission.

"I hope the length of the meetings isn't why we're seeing so many vacancies," council Klein said this week, referring to the four-hour meetings that have been held roughly every month.

"The LAC has way more vacancies than any of our other commissions, almost by a factor of two. It's a disturbing number."

The board's need for new members is about to be exacerbated, with three more commissioners' terms set to expire Jan. 31.

Le Conge said she values the advice of library commissioners, who also regularly stay in touch with two other library interest groups in town, Friends of the Palo Alto Library and the Palo Alto Library Foundation.

In their own response, library commissioners said they perceive that they are "providing a valuable and rewarding service to the city," lending perspectives on long-term outlook for programs, services and use of space; technology, finance and marketing expertise and advocacy for libraries.

"We have a lot to discuss, especially with new facilities coming on line," library commissioner Bob Moss told the council Tuesday.

Councilwoman Nancy Shepherd said she expects a "vigorous debate" over library staffing in 2014, when the new Mitchell Park Library is opened and people will seek longer hours for the College Terrace Library, which currently operates just four days a week.

Besides Moss, current library commissioners, according to the city's website, are Toluope Akinola, Leonardo Hochberg, Eileen Landauer, Theivanai Palaniappan and Mary Beth Train. The terms of Akinola, Moss and Palaniappan expire Jan. 31.

Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be emailed at ckenrick@paweekly.com.


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


Registration now open

Sign up for the 33rd annual Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run and Walk. This family-friendly event which benefits local nonprofits serving kids and families will take place on Friday, Oct. 6 at the Palo Alto Baylands.

Register Here