Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Felton Library Friends Mobilizes

The Felton Library Friends, has sent the following information to supporters urging them to contact Joint Power Board Members to voice your support for the Felton Library: 

Below are actions you can take; basic information about the models; and talking points for your public comments, letters, emails, or phone calls.

Action you can take to keep our branch system strong:

  • Attend the Library Joint Powers Board meetings on Feb. 7th and 14th at the Louden Nelson Center (301 Center St., Santa Cruz) at 6:30. Both meetings will include time for comments from the public. FLF members will be handing out FLF buttons for those who wish to wear them.
  • Write or call Joint Powers Board members at
  • Spread the word and forward this email to your neighbors and friends.
  • Get your questions answered by a local Task Force member at the Felton Library this Saturday from 10-12.

Here’s a comparison of how the branches fare in the four models:
  • Model A – Retains seven branches; closes Felton, La Selva Beach, and Garfield Park.
  • Model B – Retains ten branches, but makes Felton, La Selva Beach and Garfield Park dependent on community volunteers with reduced collections and services (no volunteers, no open doors).  Converts Branciforte to a Tech Lab and converts Garfield Park to a local history & genealogy branch.
  • Model C – Retains all ten branches model without the use of volunteers.
  • Model D – Retains six branches system; closes Felton, Garfield Park, Branciforte, and La Selva Beach

Here are some basic talking points you might wish to use in your spoken remarks, emails, or phone calls -- add your own situation to make your comments personal:

General points

  • Model C is the Community model: it provides community-wide access and honors the vote of communities throughout the County.
  • Model C meets the Board's criteria for long-term sustainability.  I urge you not to cut branches, since you do not need to. This will help build countywide support for a future bond measure for facility improvements to our libraries.
  • Great access for some and not for others is a poor way to run a library system
  • Library systems close branches when there are absolutely no alternatives
  • Model C clearly demonstrates a way to have a 10 branch system that can continue to grow. 
  • Felton, gateway community for several mountain communities, has no teen center, no boys and girls club, no recreation center or swim center open year round, and a lack of meeting spaces. Closing the library would close the door on existing plans for a new library in this facility-poor area. 
  • Model C is the only model that has the capacity to unite our system now and into the future.

Measure B and Measure R
  • I voted for Measure B in 1996, and for Measure R in 2008 with the expectation that the Library administration and Board would follow the language of those measures.  Model C is the only model that honors the trust that 72% of the voters placed in the Board.  
  •  SLV voters were led to believe that a “YES” vote on Measure R in June of 2008 would eventually lead to the long planned new Felton Branch, not for closure of the existing branch. 

Strategic Plan 2010-2015 (see SCPL website):
  • In the Strategic Plan, “people of all ages find their branch to be a welcoming place and people of all ages will define the level of service they need and want”. If the board embraces the plan they adopted in 2010, they will support the existence of all community branches in the county. 
  • I was one of about 80 people who attended the Felton town hall meeting that contributed to the Strategic Plan for the Library system.  I urge you to build on that Strategic Plan and those important community meetings by strengthening the Library system's role in communities throughout the County.  Please support Model C.
  • The recent Town Hall meetings and county wide survey indicated that people want a nearby branch.
  • The Strategic Plan 2010-2015 states that the fastest growing sector in the county is seniors. Seniors need facilities nearby.
  • Two of the Guiding Principles from the Strategic Plan are to be customer driven, and to add value to the community’s quality of life. Only Model C embraces both of the Guiding Principles
  • As stated in the Strategic Plan, “people of all ages find their branch to be a welcoming place and people of all ages will define the level of service they need and want”. If the board follows the direction adopted in the Strategic Plan, they will embrace the existence of all branches and communities in the county.

The following points address features of Plans A, B and D
  • Communities should not be responsible for staffing branches with volunteers in order to keep them open. Residents of all areas of the county are already paying taxes to do that.  
  • When a volunteer does not show up, the branch does not open. This is not a way to build use.
  • It’s much more effective to use volunteers for jobs that aren’t dependent on the library opening its doors. 

Specialized Branches
  • Specialty branches make sense in a city system but not in a county system where people would have to drive long distances (assuming they were able to) to get “specialized” services.  
  • All branches need to be ready and flexible to meet the needs of the users. Would a Genealogy branch serve well young children and teens? Would a tech hub serve the needs of seniors?
  • Every branch needs to have the technological tools for users to stay current with innovations. To concentrate this valuable information at one branch, would disenfranchise other users in the county.
  • The Branciforte branch may be easy for Santa Cruz city residents to locate and access, but not so for other users in the county
  • There’s plenty of room at the Downtown branch for Genealogy and California History, which is easier to find than Garfield Park.  
What is more important in a library than anything else - than everything else - is the fact that it exists.  ~Archibald MacLeish

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