Karen White (650) 494-7026
Karen Kang (650) 328-1121 work
(650) 328-1121 home
(650) 465-2195 cell phone
CITIZEN’S GROUP FORMS TO SPEED CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
TO PALO ALTO LIBRARIES
PALO ALTO, June 6, 2001—A Palo Alto citizen’s group, called Libraries Now!, has formed to ensure municipal funding and an aggressive timetable for library capital improvements. Libraries Now! will present recommendations for funding library renovations in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget before the CIP vote at the City Council meeting on Monday, June 11.
“The people of Palo Alto are tired of waiting for improved library facilities,” said Libraries Now! Co-President Karen Kang. “The thousands of citizens who participated in developing the City’s Comprehensive Plan cited libraries as a top priority. Yet, where is our civic pride in correcting the overcrowding and poor conditions in our libraries? Why hasn’t the City stepped forward to identify funding sources to achieve the much-needed expansion to our existing library facilities?”
The proposed 2001-2006 Capital Improvement Program budget recommends funding for conceptual designs and expense projections for improved libraries, but does not include provisions for funding library infrastructure expansion. According to the Library Plan developed by the Library Advisory Commission, “On virtually every measure, the condition of Palo Alto’s library system is deficient.” Beyond citing understaffing and declining library collections, the Plan specifically states that “Main, Children’s and Mitchell Park libraries are crowded beyond capacity and there is little shelf space to expand collections.” In addition, Mitchell Park and Children’s libraries are in such a state of disrepair that they cannot be merely renovated, but need to be rebuilt.
“Our library buildings are part of the municipal infrastructure that is the City’s responsibility to maintain and improve,” said Karen White, Libraries Now! co-president. “Private citizens are willing to help in the funding effort, but the City must first show leadership and responsibility in its fiscal commitment to this essential community resource.”
“With all due respect to our City Manager, a $100 million Capital Improvement Program budget that does not include funding to remedy critical deficiencies in our aging libraries does not adequately reflect the needs and priorities of Palo Alto residents,” White added.
Libraries Now!, which is endorsed by the Friends of the Palo Alto Library, has community support from throughout the city. Libraries Now! founding members--community leaders, business professionals, Friends of the Palo Alto Library members, parents of school-age children, and senior citizens--include:
Barbara D. Smith
Bill and Marion Van Orsdol
For more information or to join Libraries Now!, contact Karen White at (650) 494-7026 or Karen Kang at (650) 328-1121., or send e-mail to Libraries Now!