Downtown North Neighborhood Association (DTNNA)

DTNNA > Library


06/20/2004 -- Follow up letter by Jeff Levinsky of the Friends of the Palo Alto Library (Noting that there was no extra money in the budget for extra Down Town Library hours)

06/17/2004 -- Library Advisory Commission Hosts Community Meeting on July 8th

06/07/2004 -- The city council is still not opening the library evening or Saturdays as reported by Jeff Levinsky of the Friends of the Palo Alto Library letter. NOTE: He is working with the library and thanks to the response so-far is NOT suggesting individual pressure, (See: the Blog comment) Actions that he suggested are to Email you opinion to the City Council and the News media as well as expressing them to the Council next meeting, June 14-th. You can discuss this either in the Blog comment area.

09/29/2003 -- The Library Commission presented its plan to the City Council that includes closing to closing the Downtown Library.


Subject: South Neighborhood group opposed to Downtown Library closure
From: Elaine Meyer, University South Neighborhoods Group
Date: June 30, 2003

The board of the University South Neighborhoods Group is opposed to closing our precious, and much used, library.

This neighborhood is set to absorb 500-600 new residents. The new individual homes are almost complete, and multistory residential buildings are under construction now -- just walk or drive along Channing Ave. Downtown branch days and hours are already reduced, making it more difficult for us to know when it is open -- and that discourages its use.

At the same time that the neighborhood population is increasing, our city services and amenities should not be diminished!

To register your opinion
Please attend the Library Commission meeting on
Thursday, July 24th at 7 pm, at City Hall.

Fill out a card for Oral Communications at the start of the meeting. If you don’t want to speak just come and be there. The commissioners will understand why you are there because most of their deliberations do not attract the public.

It is important to express ourselves early, so that the Commission’s recommendations to the Council reflect the public’s views. This is the time to be heard.
When it gets to the Council, it is more difficult, and it may be too late.

To write to the Commission, address a letter to

Library Advisory Commission
c/o Library Director
270 Forest Ave, Palo Alto 94301

Send a letter to the two newspapers:
Palo Alto Weekly
703 High Street, Palo Alto 94301

Palo Alto Daily News
324 High Street, Palo Alto 94301

We have a message from Bob Moss, of Friends of the Library, with some not so good news about the future of the Downtown Library. Here is the message he sent, which you may want to react to, as we have.

Subject: Proposed Closing of Downtown Library Branch
From: Bob Moss Mailto: (FOPAL, Friends of Palo Alto Library)
Date: June 29, 2000

The Library Advisory Commission and city staff have been discussing ways to restructure and revise library operations for some time. These discussions became more intense after the bond issue to upgrade and rebuild Mitchell Park and Children's Library failed. The budget squeeze increased the pressure on both staff and commissioners to consider major changes in library operations. The final report of the Library Advisory Commission is expected in August, but even now it is clear what many of the recommendations will be.

The Library Advisory Commission is focused mainly on Mitchell Park and Main as the primary library facilities in Palo Alto. They also support Children's Library, and seem to agree that College Terrace Library is a needed neighborhood library. However they are very uninterested in maintaining Downtown Library as a branch library. The most likely recommendation from both the staff and Library Advisory Commission will be to move various support and office-type operations from Main to Downtown, close Downtown as a local branch library, and effectively reduce the library system to 4 branches. The space vacated in Main could be used for a variety of purposes. The one mentioned most often is for teen activities and study.

This loss of a branch library could impact your neighborhood and residents near the Downtown branch, a well as people that work in or near downtown and use the facility either for study, checking out books and other materials, searching references, or for rest and relaxation.

FOPAL is interested in getting reactions and responses from residents, businesses, and users of the libraries to this expected proposal. Would closing the Downtown branch library be an issue or concern, or would it be tolerable with other branches such as Main providing adequate services? We would appreciate comments and indications from all interested and possibly affected people about this proposed closure of Downtown. You may reply to this E-mail or contact FOPAL president Ellen Wyman at 325-9483,

Thank you for your interest and response to this inquiry.

Subject: Commission Officially Recommends Closure
From: "Jeff Levinsky" <>
Date: 25 Jul 2003 09:12:54 -0700

Those of us who attended the Library Advisory Commission meeting last night were dismayed when, despite massive public outcry against the closure, the Commission voted 6-1 to recommend closing the Downtown Library.

The Commission made some minor alterations to its draft plan and will add a transmittal letter when it sends the plan to the City Council members. The Council will have a special study session on September 29 to review the plan. The City Council is under no obligation to accept anything in the plan, and it may send it back for further study. But if the Council Members don't want to save the Downtown Library, the Commission's recommendations will aid them in this.

Many people from both Downtown and other parts of town spoke out eloquently last night at the Commission meeting in favor of retaining the Downtown library. Supporters filled the Commission room and some ended up sitting on the floor. Meanwhile, the Commission's arguments appear weak and undocumented. For example, they have no budget in their plan whatsoever, so the claim that the Downtown library needs to be closed for monetary reasons is unsubstantiated. The Commission members seem intent on adding a few hours to other Palo Alto libraries and a teen reading room to the Main Library, even though there may not actually be money to do that either, and inconsiderate of the impact on the downtown community. Indeed, their demeanor struck more than one observer as callous and arrogant, as they laughed and joked among themselves while voting (with only one dissension) to recommend that the Downtown library be closed - this after berating supporters of the library for only thinking of themselves.

Clearly, they aren't the people who matter at this point. The Commission members are appointed and answer to no one. City Council members, especially with the upcoming November election, have generally been far more favorable to preserving libraries and other popular city services. Your letters and e-mails to them will matter. We're told that the College Terrace Library, which has far fewer visits per year than the Downtown Library, will not be closed because its community sent a few dozen e-mails to the City Council. We have already collected more than ten times as many petition signatures to deliver to the City Council. But now no time to rest. If you value the Downtown Library and our branch library system, write to the

City Council, City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301

or e-mail them at

If you're contacted by a campaigner for a Council seat, ask about his or her stand on this issue. Have your friends of all ages and from all over Palo Alto speak out too. It's our library system, we pay for it, it's there because we use it, and let's preserve it!

For more information, see the Friends of the Palo Alto Libraries

Request that the Children's library get Federal support

The City of Palo Alto has requested a congressional earmark of $500,000 in the Fiscal Year 2004 VA-HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill under the Economic Development Initiative for the Palo Alto Children’s Library.

See: Request Letter <WORD_VERSION> for the form letter that might be sent to the government supporting this funding and the details as to why this library should be funded


June 20, 2004