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Disadvantage of the branch system

Original post made by Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008

As I am about to run some errands and want to borrow 2 books to read while I know I have to wait somewhere this evening, I checked to see which branch I should visit. Big problem, one is available at Mitchell Park and one is available at Main. To get both these books today, I must make 2 trips or wait until one is moved from one branch to another. I want these books today, so it looks like I need to run to 2 places, plus I have just spent 15 minutes on line rather than walking to the right shelves to see if they are there.

I love the fact that I can look at the catalog from home, I love the fact that I can put books on hold, I love the fact that the library will email me when they are available. But, the wait is just inconvenient. If I was about to go on vacation and wanted these books to read, I would have had to have made a trip to the library a week before to ensure that I got the books I wanted. This is just another inconvenience to me.

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Posted by Library Patron
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 29, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Yeah, I hate the branch system too as it stands. I wouldn't mind one mega-library and a few small reading rooms, but two LARGE branches (despite one being called "Main") and a significant Children's Library is certainly inconvenient.

However, this is a consequence of the organic growth of our fair City and I don't know what can be done about it. I'd rather have two state of the art large branches than two crappy library facilities, which is what we have now. And I'd much rather have the Main library torn down and rebuilt with a huge single structure with underground parking, etc., (like the San Mateo library, for example), but for some reason the ugly facility is considered architecturally significant.

Is it a surprise? The same thing afflicts the Edgewood center and its godawful Eichler status.

So, yes, the branch system sucks, but we have to live with what's possible and practical. No one will want to pay an exorbitant sum to buy new land to build a new monolithic library, even though that's really what's best, IMO. So let's do the next best thing, which is renovate our existing facilities and make them more usable. Our existing libraries are a JOKE.

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