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In Support of a New Library

From: domainremoved <Jocelyn>
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2017 19:26:16 +0000 (UTC)

Dear City Council,
I'm writing in support of Agenda Item 13.
The current Menlo Park Central Library is still functional, but "functional" about the height of the praise I can give it.  The building is outmoded, all the ADA accommodations are retrofitted in making any citizens with disabilities feel unwelcome and unplanned for, the heating and cooling are inadequate, and it doesn't seem like it was designed to protect the books it houses.  A functional library is a basic civic service.  I know people think they are less used and less useful now that we have Google at our fingertips, but please keep in mind: 
1) trusting unverified information on the internet has disastrous consequences, and curated information sources (like the library) are more important than ever.
2) libraries serve all people in the community, and that includes people who don't have (because they can't afford, or because they don't want, or because they have a disability that prevents...) internet access in their homes.  That means a physical space for libraries is always relevant.
3) they are a community hub, so physical space for them is always relevant.
4) just as remedial classes are crucial to educate students who are behind the median, libraries are crucial to keep those *ahead* of the median engaged and interested in their work.  When you're actually interested in a subject, when you want to know more, there is no treasure like the library, and no resource like a helpful librarian.  And those resources should be there for your *whole life.* Not just while you're in school.
5) speaking of school, public libraries are an important resource for providing resources for students' research assignments - while bookstores aren't likely to always stock that "middle-grade biography chapter book on the historical figure of your choice" for your kids' book review, libraries have collection development plans that ensure they will.  Not to mention, kids are another user group that often don't have unfettered access to the internet... but still need trustworthy information.
Hopefully, once this project is done, the cost savings of maintaining a new and up-to-date central library will allow the city to make improvements to the Belle Haven branch, which specifically serves a community which is more likely to rely on print-heavy sources.  My foremost concern about the projected library project is that it does not address the Belle Haven branch.
I'd hate to see our city pass up this generous offer, which would be in line with our general plan, would save us so much money over the next 20 years, and which would fix a real problem, simply because we're not flexible enough to take advantage of it.
Jocelyn Stilwell-Tong916 Theresa CourtMenlo Park CA 94025
Received on Tue Aug 22 2017 - 12:28:30 PDT

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