Palo Alto City Council Candidate Views on Library Issues
Four of the nine seats on the Palo City
Council are to be filled in the November 4, 2003 election. Since the City Council determines our
direction and budget, we asked the ten candidates for their views
on the downtown library closure and other library matters. Here are the questions and their
responses. Candidates are listed alphabetically by last name
and no attempt was made to correct typographical errors.
Some candidates didn't answer the two questions specifically, so
their responses are in both columns.
address if supplied
1) Do you favor, oppose, or feel otherwise regarding the Library Advisory Commission’s proposal to close the Downtown Library?
2) What specific changes, if any, would you make to the Palo Alto Library system and to its budget?
||I am strongly opposed to closing the Downtown Library. I am so strong about
libraries that I put that in my position statement on the ballot. I will do
whatever I can, if elected to oppose any decrease in the library budget
Shouldn't we shut down our failed $500,000 public relations department and
use that money for keeping our libraries open?
||I would actually increase the library budget. The money will come from
cutting programs that are wasteful.
Our citizens are not aware that we have a higher per capita government
employee to population ratio than the entire Federal Government, the State
Government or any local government in the Bay area. Just the administrative
overhead rose over 44% in the last five years! I strongly believe we can
save our libraries if the City Council maintained fiscal integrity and
responsibility. If elected, I will be vigilant in maintaining and preserving
our libraries. Our library system needs upgrading. I will increase the
budget for library books and other materials acquisitions.
|I believe the Council made a commitment to the SOFA 1 area to keep the downtown library. I do not support closing the library.
||I made the motion to direct the City Manager to hire a new Director before the end of this year.
|I oppose the recommendation of the
Library Advisory Commission to
close the Downtown Library. Palo Alto has 6 libraries, none of
which should be closed. Quite the contrary, they should be enhanced.
Our libraries should be available to all residents, even those who
are unable to travel.
||With respect to the budget, I would first seek to locate existing
funds which could be utilized to support our libraries. For example,
the city spends money to hire outside consultants. Recently, the
city spent $250,000 for a consultant on fiber optics.
Unfortunately, I am unable to determine the amounts that the city has
expended for other consultants, since those numbers do not seem to
appear in the published budget. That information needs to be made
available to the public immediately. We could likely save
substantial sums of money if we were able to secure volunteer
consultants from our community. This is not unprecedented. After
the flood of 1998, one of the neighborhood associations put together
a team of consultants, pro bono. This team devised a plan which
was adopted and utilized by the city to respond to the flood.
Additionally, I would consult with the city manager and the city
auditor, as well as other staff knowledgeable about the budget, to
explore other avenues of budget savings. Finally, I would consider
putting forth another, albeit less ambitious, library bond measure.
||I support maintaining the downtown library at current hours and
staffing, at the very least I would prefer it only be closed two days a week,
but I agree that budget constaints are serious at this time. I would support
it as a priority item and fund it with general fund revenues unless grant money
from a private foundation could be located. I have a prejudice in this area.
My mother was a teacher and librarian and I am a high school teacher. I value
books and learning, but libraries are so much more ... they are repositories of
knowledge, history, and culture, and have done much to make the human community
what it is. To have callously torn down the beautiful old Birge Clark Library
on Hamilton to build City Hall and now come back 30 years or so later and say
we don't even need a downtown library shows a poverty of spirit as well as a
lack of intelligence. You can count on my support.
||There are going to be changes on you board....
Your organization is a big mess.....As a fucher
city counceal member I will fix this issue in one
week....Then start of remodeling of the old bulding
down town...with a coumper room with 20 high end
coumputers and a aid..both mac and PC...The down town
libary will a stat of the art show case for everone
to use.....9am to 9pm monday through satday...one library at a time will be done...ataff....staff changes maybe....magment yes..
No more close the down town library games to pull
people in....the magment games are over...and
so is some of the people on the board.
Palo alto is my home town....the palo alto librarys
have a speal place in my hart....
|I oppose the closure of the Downtown Library.
||I would reduce the Planning Department budget to fund library services.
|I oppose the proposal to close the Downtown Library. I believe the
Commissioners did their best job to reallocate the reduced resources
reflected in the adopted Budget, as they were asked to do. However, faced
with their recommendation to close that branch to public use, my feeling is
that this is not a solution we can approve.
I believe libraries are as fundamental to Palo Alto as trees, and having
neighborhood libraries lends a unique experience to our residents that other
communities can only envy. With the adopted Comprehensive Plan goal of
creating walkable neighborhoods, and with the already annoying level of
cross-town traffic, there really can't be any other outcome but to look at
the budget constraints again and see what kind of service, albeit diminished
for the time being, can be made available downtown so the neighborhood still
has access to a community meeting place for reading and connecting.
Especially with all the new residents that will be moving into the downtown
area and with the increased likelihood of more seniors taking up residence
in the smaller condos and apartments that are available downtown, the
circulation and demand will certainly rise exponentially in just a couple of
years. We should anticipate this greater demand and tackle the budget issues
|I believe the Library Advisory Commission and the FOPAL have each made a
number of constructive and creative suggestions for improving the library
system which are worthy of evaluation. My sense is that we need to adopt a
variety of strategies -- there's no one magic fix. In no particular order,
these are some of the possible strategies that I believe are most practical
and would yield the greatest cost benefit: improved technology (to reduce
cataloguing, check-in and check-out staff time, and to provide more on-line
access to archived materials to gain the possibility of reducing hours and
staffing), greater coordination with other library systems (to reduce number
of purchased, stocked books/periodicals), hire a volunteer coordinator who
can recruit and supervise a greater number of volunteers (with all the folks
out of work, and I know many, there are highly talented folks who might be
very willing to spend some time helping), look at the consultant's staffing
report for opportunities to reorganize staff in most cost effective way that
also utilizes our staff in more professional manner (staff is spread too
thin now and is not being supervised properly, acc.to the report). As a
priority matter, ahead of even these ideas, is the need to hire a visionary
professional to lead our library system. If the right Director is hired, I
believe all sorts of strategies will become more achievable.
Beyond the budget, there remains the possibility of going back to the voters
with a reduced bond package. I will propose again, as I did nearly two years
ago, that we develop a Children's Bond that would fund specific improvements
to children's facilities at Children's Library, Mitchell Park, the Art
Center, the Junior Museum and Zoo, and Mitchell Community Center. I believe
very strongly that such a bond, well thought out and focused, would garner
the necessary 66% vote. But improving the facilities is only part of the
solution since we will still have to tackle the challenge of staffing these
improved and expanded facilities. I believe the Library Foundation should,
and will, become a major partner in helping our community achieve these
|I oppose closing any neighborhood libraries, including Downtown, Terman, and College Terrace.
||I would immediately shift funding toward improvements to our libraries, both
operational and capital improvements. I agree with the Library Commission
that our libraries are an emabarrassement and need immediate attention due
to years of "neglect." Libraries are ranked very high in community
priority. I would immediately shift funding in the operational and capital
budgets to fund them according to community priority. I can identify several
budget line items that could be shifted immediately, without controversy, to
improve our library inadequacies.
|I appreciate the willingness of the Library Advisory Commission (LAC) to take on difficult and highly political topics—such as the closing of the Downtown Library. The LAC correctly notes that there is not enough money available in the foreseeable future to implement the council-approved and adopted Library Master Plan.
After reading the LAC recommendations, listening to their thoughtful presentation and the comments of the public, I believe we need to re-evaluate the Master Plan and make necessary adjustments so that we can continue to move forward to improve our library system. I support a plan that includes a strong neighborhood-based library system.
I am interested in exploring a possible plan which might retain existing neighborhood libraries and build one new resource library at Mitchell Park. Though the collections at neighborhood libraries may of necessity be limited, the neighborhood libraries would still provide a neighborhood meeting space and access to computers. Now that library systems are interconnected, we can use our neighborhood libraries to request library materials from other branches, communities, colleges and universities.
I do not favor closing the Downtown Library, especially in light of plans to increase housing and density in the downtown area. We need to make sure that people can walk and bike to their local library and not have to drive across town.
|As noted above [ed
note: on the left], I am interested in exploring a strong neighborhood-based library system with one resource library at Mitchell Park.
I believe that the public/private partnership to raise money to renovate and expand the Children’s Library will be successful and will serve as a model for garnering public support for a future bond initiative to pay for a new resource library. I have personally traveled to Washington, D.C. to successfully lobby for federal funding for the Children’s Library and will continue to pursue additional federal funding.
I also support continued, dedicated efforts to qualify our library plans for State bond funding. Additionally, current efforts by the City Auditor to audit the Community Services Division, and the City Manager’s ongoing efforts to restructure the City organization should identify cost-savings that could be transferred to support library operations. As soon as additional operating revenues are identified, we should increase library hours at Main, Downtown and College Terrace libraries. Efforts to leverage volunteer support should also be pursued.
- no response -