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Feedback on BH Library Needs Assessment by Gensler

From: domainremoved <Pushpinder>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2018 21:51:00 -0700

Dear City Council Members,

I am a member of the Belle Haven Neighborhood Library Advisory Committee.
The committee has met, reviewed, and discussed the findings from the
Gensler report recently presented to us.

The specific feedback in this email is from my perspective. There was an
opportunity for other committee members to provide their written inputs to
me today, and for me to collate all our feedback and send to you by
Thursday morning. However, I have not received any comments or points from
them other than what we discussed in our monthly meeting on Aug 13. I'm
going to take that as a good sign or people being overly busy.

On that note, please take the following points as only my individual

The Gensler report does a good job of reemphasizing what we already know
and have known for a long time--that we need a new, adequate, 21st century
library and not a school library moonlighting as a branch library. Please
refer to page 29 for details on the community needs identified in this

A few other points:

   1. The needs assessment didn't take in adequate community inputs from
   local organizations, service providers, educators, and BH schools on the
   gaps in the community and their vision of what a branch library could offer
   this community. My recommendation is that when the project moves into the
   Space Needs Study phase, the findings from the needs assessment should be
   validated through focus groups or interviews with such key community
   members and individuals
   2. The library currently serves as a school library and no matter which
   way you look at it, the services, programs, and resources offered at the
   current branch library are woefully inadequate. To fill the gaps identified
   by the community, and to do justice to the needs identified through the
   Gensler report (page 29), the library will need a new, 21st century,
   expanded space. The report surprisingly skirts around this logical
   recommendation and goes so far as to suggest that enhanced programs could
   fit in existing space or moderate changes to physical space (see page 31).
   These suggestions are not based on any type of space analysis so do keep
   that in mind when you review the report.
   3. The BH community needs these resources now, and not 10 years from
   now. How will the city prioritize short term and long-term expansion of the
   BH branch library? In other words, what can the city commit to for meeting
   the shortfalls in the short-term and realizing our dream of a new branch
   library/community space in the long term?
   4. The report makes unsubstantiated claims in a few places e.g., on page
   57, a "threat" listed is that "removal or co-location with school could
   impact ease of use as an after-school safe space." When asked for data to
   support this threat, we received no further information. For example, which
   school programs would be affected if the library moved to a new location?
   Which programs were being provided by local organizations or the library,
   and in the event of the library shifting, be impacted negatively in their
   ease of use?

The Gensler report is a detailed analysis of the needs from the community's
perspective despite its weaknesses. It is a guide moving forward...and
that's exactly what we need to do: move forward!

I look forward to the next phase of the BH branch library expansion: a
Space Needs Study and clarity on what we can do in the short-term to meet
our needs as we work towards our vision.

Thanks for reading through this rather long email. In deep appreciation of
your hard work for this wonderful city.

Warm regards,

Pushpinder Pelia Lubana, PhD
LinkedIn <http://www.linkedin.com/in/pushpinderlubana>
Cell 650-644-8554
Received on Wed Aug 15 2018 - 21:50:36 PDT

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