Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Library Board Votes to Keep Felton Branch and Increase Open Hours

From contentious to compromise to community, the LJPB voted to maintain a ten branch library system and increase the number of hours libraries will be open to the public.  

The Santa Cruz City County Library Joint Powers Board responded to the public outcry over potential branch closures by passing a motion presented by 5th District Supervisor Mark Stone to adopt a “Community Service Model” which was developed by a special subcommittee created just weeks ago.  The vote was 7-2.

Stone’s motion also included a provision which requires Library Director Teresa Landers to develop and present to the Board a set of metrics to be used to insure the service model was being met.

In explaining the model, LJPB Board President Barbara Gorson noted that the plan would rely on a new and very different “staffing model” that was developed by Landers in collaboration with an outside consultant.  That model reclassifies many job titles and descriptions and reorganizes the library system around four basic functions or “interdependent elements”:  onsite services;
programs and services; collections, both physical and virtual; and support and administration.

A final “staffing plan” to be presented to the Board as part of the new budget process will almost certainly involve layoffs however the exact number and which positions remains unknown.  Early retirement incentives, attrition and delays in filling newly proposed positions in management will all have an impact on the final decision.

One new position which appears likely to be created will be a “volunteer coordinator” who will develop and be responsible for an increased role that community members are expected to fill in the final “staffing plan”.

In voting to approve the Community Service Model board members acknowledged and expressed appreciation for the participation of the public in their deliberations. Supervisor Ellen Pirie thanked community members for “helping to get us here”  and said that she had heard from countless people how appreciative they were that their voices were heard.  Supervisor Stone credited the community participation for the final outcome and over the objections of Landers insisted that his motion include the word Community as the moniker for the model in recognition of the role they played.  Santa Cruz City Council members Katherine Beiers and David Terraza and Capitola City Councilman Sam Storey also mentioned the impact the community had on their decision making process.

Citizen board members Nancy Gerdt of Felton and Gorson were the other assenting votes.

Earlier in the meeting the Board unanimously passed a proclamation honoring and thanking the members of the Service Model Task Force.  Local members of the task force included Nancy Gerdt, Paul Machlis and Teresa Landers of Felton and Darby Kremers of Boulder Creek.

In other business the Board agreed to table a request to approve a 30 year lease with the City of Scotts Valley for the new library under construction.  Councilman Storey requested additional written assurances that the building will meet all ADA requirements and Supervisors Pririe and Stone asked for language which gave the Board some say in what types of co-tenants would be suitable in the remaining portion of the building not used by the library.

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