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Hitting the restart button

Original post made on Jul 8, 2011

Inside Palo Alto's newly renovated Downtown Library recently, Cornelia van Aken rattled off a list of new programs the staff is planning for kids and adults: weekly family movie nights; technology "petting zoos"; a workshop on knitting scarves as holiday presents; a "Harry Potter" Fest.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 8, 2011, 12:00 AM

Comments (14)

Posted by Library user
a resident of University South
on Jul 8, 2011 at 10:25 am

How does charging $45 an HOUR for use of the community room every evening and 3 days a week fit with the desire to have the community use the building?
Four million dollars of remodeling and they couldn't figure out how to seal off the meeting room from the library during off hours?
Alas, the elegance of the library is gone, it looks more like a trendy coffee-shop-nursery-school now.

Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 8, 2011 at 10:54 am

What a waste of money. With a beautiful Children's Library, we are duplicating services by adding "programming" for babies? It is unfortunate that the Downtown "special interest" group was able to avert Paula Simpson's logical, fiscally responsible suggestion of one Main Library with community spaces throughout PA.

Posted by LaNell
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 8, 2011 at 11:13 am

I have two dates down for the opening day - July 10 and July 16.
Can anyone tell me which is right?

Posted by Library user
a resident of University South
on Jul 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Still wondering, seriously,
>Four million dollars of remodeling and they couldn't figure out how to seal off the meeting room from the library during off hours?
Was Group 4 told not to put in a gate or something like it, that would do the job and make the meeting room useful to the public?

Posted by Phil
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Another example of misguided priorities. City officials cry fiscal emergency, but yet they supported the drive to approve a multi-million dollar library improvement initiative. The downtown library was already under-utilized and had essentially become a haven for our homeless population. And at what expense. Cuts in public safety and more discussion on closing fire stations. How about closing one or two libraries? Unreal.

Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Libraries are massively expensive to operate, with the costs growing every year, The Downtown Library Branch is an example of a poorly utilized facility that will most likely continue to be poorly utilized, as the world shifts to e-books.

To better understand these costs, the following two short papers about libraries were sent to most San Francisco Bay Area elected officials--

The Dominant Users Of California Libraries:
Web Link

The Hidden Costs Of San Francisco Bay Area Libraries:
Web Link

California is spending between $1.4B and $1.5B in public libraries, and another, greater amount, in the public school system. The total cost is probably over $4B a year--for Brick-n-Mortar facilities that are closed most of the time. California can no longer afford this misuse of public funds.

Posted by To LaNell
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2011 at 10:39 pm

The opening is July 16: Web Link

Posted by Phil
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 9, 2011 at 7:59 am

Other than the Children's Library perhaps, which has a rich history, the Palo Alto library system should have been scaled down to just one. Libraries have certainly evolved to maintain some relevancy, but for the most part their time has passed. Outdated, under-utilized, and non-essential. One main library could certainly serve the entire city. Our civic leaders pushed for the multi-million library improvement project, on the heels of heralding a fiscal emergency. Never mind the other million dollar projects they recently approved for park and playground improvements. Unbelievable. All at the expense of having to make cuts in public safety and possibly shutting down fire stations.

Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Jul 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm

I look forward to having our library re-open.


Posted by Susan
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I'm very excited to see this library re-open! It's a wonderful location in the heart of the city. I can't make the grand opening on the 16th, but I'll be in sometime that week to check out the new space.

I think adding children's programming is a great idea. There are a lot of families walking distance from this location that will certainly take advantage of the new offerings.

Thank you!

Posted by Koa
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 10, 2011 at 2:34 pm


Thanks for the well-researched and data supported papers.

So this remodeling was $3.2 million. What is the other $72 million from the bond issue going to be spent on?

Here's an idea:

Buy every single Palo Alto resident a Kindle.

$130 (retail) X 60,000 residents = $7.8 million

Use $7.2 million to negotiate limited book viewing rights with the publishers and authors.

Return remaining $60 million dollars to taxpayers.

Now every citizen has access to every page in the library of congress from their home.

Posted by Ada
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 10, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Check out the salary of the Library Director! Do we really need to pay her that much?

Posted by badjob
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 10, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Does she really need to do this crappy job

Posted by KC
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm

A friend from Seattle emailed us the following link on Library of the Year 2011: King County Library System, WA | The People's Library.

Web Link

One of the keys to their success is management and leadership.

The web page also lists the name of the director of each winning library. It says a lot.

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