Save the College Terrace Library

On Monday night, the City Council began its discussion of the City’s revised budget proposal, which includes the staff recommendation to close the College Terrace Library. (See our last post for details.) Several College Terrace residents spoke at the meeting to urge the Council to reject this recommendation and keep the library running.

But this process isn’t over and it’s important to speak up NOW if we want to save the College Terrace Library. Here are two things you can do to help:

  1. If you haven’t already done so, please email the City Council at city.council@cityofpaloalto.org and let them know what the College Terrace Library means to you and our community. The CTRA’s letter to the Council can be found below (and was read at Monday night’s meeting by the CTRA president, Chris Saccheri).
  2. Attend tonight’s City Council meeting around 5:45pm (estimated) via Zoom and speak when the floor is open for public comment. Update: According to the agenda published this afternoon, Community and Library Services budget will be discussed from 5:45-7:45pm tonight.
    https://zoom.us/join
    Meeting ID: 958 3084 9418
    Phone: 1-669-900-6833
    If you’re on the Zoom app or website, click the “Raise Hand” button to signal that you want to talk and you’ll eventually be given two minutes to speak. If you’re dialing in by phone, press *9.

Thanks to everyone who has written to the City Council so far, and everyone who spoke on behalf of the library at Monday night’s meeting. It’s clear from the emails and messages we’ve seen that the College Terrace Library is more than just a library – it’s a gathering place, a hub, and a pillar of our community. Let’s keep it that way.


CTRA Letter to the City Council

May 10, 2020

Dear City Council,

The College Terrace Residents’ Association (CTRA) has reviewed the May 7 City Council City Staff report outlining amendments to the proposed FY 2021 budget and urges the Council to reject the proposal to close the College Terrace Library.

Built in 1936, and fully renovated just ten years ago, the College Terrace Library is the oldest and smallest of the Palo Alto library system’s five branch libraries. As the City’s only community center located west of El Camino Real, the College Terrace Library is a vital hub and gathering place for residents on this side of the city.

Families with young children listen to storytime and escape the heat on warm summer days, students stop in after school to do homework in the reading room, neighbors catch up while passing through, and, of course, people come to check out books. (Enough that, according to the library’s own report, it’s the only branch where checkouts increased year over year.)

As our community begins to slowly emerge from the isolation of shelter-in-place, we will need more places to gather and reconnect, not fewer. It would be incredibly heartbreaking and short-sighted to lose this long-standing civic gem at the very time when we need it the most. We implore you to keep the College Terrace Library open.

Sincerely,

Chris Saccheri
President, College Terrace Residents’ Association 

Budget Proposal Recommends Closing College Terrace Library

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 city.council@cityofpaloalto.org.

Councilmember (and College Terrace resident) Greg Tanaka will also be holding office hours this Sunday at 3:20pm to discuss this topic. Email william.xuan@gregtanaka.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.

Cameron Park Renovation Project Meeting: May 6

The City of Palo Alto invites residents to attend a web-based community meeting on May 6th at 11am and 4pm.

The meeting will review the proposed renovations to Cameron Park and provide the  opportunity for community input.  Major elements of the park renovation include:  new/expanded playground equipment, added picnic tables, a connected paved path through the park, new site furnishing, planting and irrigation. 

Please send an email RSVP to jeanette.serna@cityofpaloalto.org including  meeting time you’d like to attend either 11am or 4pm in your response and a meeting invite will be emailed to you a prior to the meeting to sign on.