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Re: Feedback on BH Library Needs Assessment by Gensler

From: Mueller, Ray <"Mueller,>
Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2018 17:39:42 +0000

Thank you Pushpinder

From: Pushpinder Lubana <pushpinder.lubana_at_(domainremoved)
Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2018 9:51:00 PM
Subject: Feedback on BH Library Needs Assessment by Gensler

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 feedback.

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 report.

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
Cell 650-644-8554
Received on Thu Aug 16 2018 - 10:39:05 PDT

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