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regarding the library proposal

From: domainremoved <Margaret>
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:04:12 -0800

Dear Council Members,



My name is Margaret May. I have been happy to call Menlo Park my home for
the past 10 years and I am the mother of two children who were born here,
Charlie and Ellie. My children have attended Menlo Children’s Center (MCC)
since they were both 18 months old. Over the last 4 years I have had the
chance to get to know the MCC program very well. I’m writing this letter
in support of the important role that MCC plays in the Menlo Park community
given the recent proposal to expand the main library, one variant of which
appears to require closing down the preschool and relocating it.



I’d like to add my voice to the group expressing concern about a plan that
would prioritize a library renovation at the expense of the stability of
available childcare in Menlo Park. It’s not that I have a problem with
moving MCC (though I do like the centrality of its current location and
would be sad if it were moved); what concerns me is that the city council
has not made it clear that childcare is a priority, creating anxiety that
the possibility of a proposal that relocates MCC on short notice is
realistic. I know we’ve been told that no decisions have been made yet,
but the danger of promised money running the decisions rather than resident
needs seems, well, not impossible based on the communications we've
received.



It goes without saying that a disruption in the services that MCC provides
would be very destabilizing both to parents and children, I imagine you
understand this so I won’t elaborate on this point. I will say that as a
psychiatrist who cares for veterans at the Menlo Park VA (particularly vets
who are homeless and struggle with addiction), I deeply appreciate the
services that a city offers to its broad range of citizens. This includes
libraries, which serve as public places where individuals can avail
themselves of shelter, social interaction, day to day routines, and the
acquisition of knowledge. So I am not opposed to resources going into a
library. I can only imagine that there are a thousand needs in every
community and it is hard to know which to prioritize. But my impression is
that many feel the current library meets the community needs, whereas
housing and childcare remain under-resourced needs. I share the opinion
that childcare needs are substantial in this community where most families
have dual working parents, often in training programs affiliated with
Stanford which require extended working hours (this was the case for me
until a few years ago).



Lastly, it is worth mentioning that childcare needs have often been
overlooked because of subtle biases against working mothers and in sectors
where women lag behind in leadership positions. I hope Menlo Park will not
exacerbate this historical legacy and do diligence in acknowledging the
central role of childcare in our community as an investment in our children
and families.


I am unable to attend the proposal meeting tomorrow at the library but was
hoping to submit my thoughts via email. Thank you for taking the time to
read this.



Sincerely,

Margaret May

-- 
Margaret May MD
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Received on Tue Jan 16 2018 - 21:07:38 PST

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