Yesterday, City of Palo Alto staff released a report proposing solutions for the anticipated budget shortfall caused by the pandemic. Among the many options listed is closing the College Terrace Library. From Attachment 1, Exhibit 1 Page 9:
This action closes the College Terrace Library branch. The College Terrace Library served approximately 52,000 visitors in FY 2019 (about 5% of all Library visits for the year) and hosted 40 events. This action includes a reduce of full-time and part-time staff resources.https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/civicax/filebank/documents/76585
The document notes that closing the College Terrace Library would save the City $167,550 in FY 2021. Other library-related cuts include eliminating a variety of positions, reducing hours at Children’s and Rinconada libraries, and reducing the library’s materials acquisition budget (i.e., fewer new books).
Built in 1936, and fully renovated in 2010, the College Terrace Library is the oldest of the Palo Alto library system’s five branch libraries and, in addition to its collection of books and magazines, offers free WiFi, four computer terminals, a comfortable reading room, and a wonderful children’s room with weekly storytimes.
The City Council will be discussing this and other potential budget cuts on Monday night at 6:45pm. The meeting will be conducted online via Zoom (see here for connection instructions, including how to comment publicly) and streamed via YouTube. Residents can voice their concerns ahead of time by emailing the City Council at email@example.com.
Councilmember (and College Terrace resident) Greg Tanaka will also be holding office hours this Sunday at 3:20pm to discuss this topic. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending.
The City is also inviting feedback on its budget priorities via an online survey. Residents are encouraged to fill out the survey before it closes on May 13.
On a personal note, our family has visited the College Terrace Library weekly since moving into the neighborhood almost fifteen years ago. It would be heartbreaking for us to lose this beautiful gem in the heart of our neighborhood. I encourage those who feel similarly to voice their concerns to the City Council as soon as possible.