Sunday, February 6, 2011


From the Felton Library Friends:

We have breaking news that creates an urgent need for massive numbers of people to contact Santa Cruz City Council members before Tuesday’s City Council meeting…and to attend that meeting if possible. This may be as important as attending Monday night’s Joint Powers Board Meeting in determining whether or not branches are closed.  

Here’s the context:  We need a majority of the Library Joint Powers Board – at least five Board members -  to vote in favor of the task force’s Service Model C, which would keep all branches open. The Board includes two members of the Santa Cruz City Council.

The Santa Cruz City Council, in part through the urging of Library Director Teresa Landers, will consider directing their two Joint Powers Board representatives to vote for whichever task force model the entire council  votes on at their meeting this coming Tuesday, 2/8. Normally the  JPB members do their own research and vote according to what they feel is best for the library system as a whole.

We are concerned that the council, presented with a heavily weighted introduction from Director Landers, may vote to direct their two representatives on the Joint Powers Board to support an option that would close branches - two votes that could be crucial for getting Model C passed.

Furthermore, this subverts the public comment process, a period up to and including Monday, Feb. 14, by effectively directing two members of the Joint Powers Board in how to cast their votes before they have heard all public comments.


* Please immediately contact friends who live in Santa Cruz and are likely to be interested in this issue and willing to take action — or forward this email to them. Ask them to contact their Santa Cruz City Council members about this issue before the end of the day Monday if possible.  Contact and talking points information is provided below.

*Please try to attend, and encourage others (especially SC residents) to attend, the Santa Cruz City Council meeting this Tuesday night, February 8 at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council chambers (809 Center Street, S.C.) to speak against the council directing its members how to vote, and to express your support for keeping branches open.

* Please forward this to people you know countywide so they can help spread the word.

* Feel free to write to the Santa Cruz City Council yourself as well, although letters from Santa Cruz City residents will carry the most weight.

Talking Points Information
Contact Information for Santa Cruz City Council:

You can send a general email stating that it is for the Library agenda item for the 2/8 7:00 p.m. meeting to:

OR contact council members individually (home phone #s are from the City website):
Name Email Home phone #
Ryan Coonerty (Mayor) 423-8939
Don Lane (Vice Mayor) 426-4272
Katherine Beiers 426-6108
Hilary Bryant 421-0334
Tony Madrigal n/a
Lynn Robinson n/a
David Terrazas n/a

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

Felton Library Friends
P.O. Box 1245
Felton CA 95018

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