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Mayor Ira Talks Library Programming vs. Extended Hours

Ira discusses how one-time funds can be used.

Questions for Mayor Jeff Ira:

  • What is the city’s policy on one time funds, like the library endowment?
  • Do you agree with the library board’s use of funds?
  • Some say library programs can be run by volunteers instead of paid staff in order to save money and extend Schaberg Library’s hours. Would this be feasible?

Mayor Ira explains the council's approval process of the library board's decisions. He also explains what the council will do in the future to help the library serve the community as best it can. 

Sharon Levin April 05, 2011 at 07:15 PM
YES, WHY did the Library Director not know about this large amount of money? How is volunteering to do storytimes NOT consistent with the vision of what the Library and the Foundation say that they want? Which is to continue to offer programs, but for free. This is not an issue with the union, since no current city employee is being asked to do these times, rather a retired city librarian is collecting the income. WHY spend this money at all? Why not sit on it, put it back wherever it was getting approx. 7-8% interest and hang on to it, with an idea of keeping Schaberg open if that's what is being threatened. Keep the shortened hours, NOT an ideal situation, but one I'm sure many would agree with if the alternative is closure. And, keep this nest egg ready to keep this wonderful branch open. There is enough there to keep it going for a couple of years, so that's not that short term. Why is the Library Director, with the City Council's support, spending this money at this time? --Sharon Levin, Former Library Board member, current member Committee to Support Schaberg
Eggbert April 05, 2011 at 08:18 PM
Hmm. Methinks Mr. Ira believes that repeating the same obfuscatory non-answers will make the questions go away. "We're going to" does not constitute "this is when and why the policy was made official, and how the public was invited to comment on the process". The fact remains that no good reason has been given that a large pot of money is going to a Very Good Friend of the Library, while the very existence of a branch is threatened. "Because it is" doesn't count. If indeed a union feels threatened by volunteers reading books to children, and the money saved being given instead to keep a library's doors opened and the union members employed, let's do indeed hear from that union publicly. Or like every other feint in this bizarre charade, we can assume we're not hearing the whole story. Not to suggest, of course, that such union complaints would be conjured in whole or in part. Not at all. I can imagine though that taxpayers whose money is under discussion would like the real weight of a public statement documenting such complaints' existence.
Merrily April 06, 2011 at 04:17 AM
Keep "MY" library OPEN!!! I have been going to this library since I was born!! 54 years! I plan on using it another 54 years! Keep it open! The building being open is for all people of all ages to utilizes all of our resources there!
Cari April 06, 2011 at 05:09 AM
I am very concerned about closing a library while, at the same time, a former employee who is collecting retirement is being paid for story time, from what I understand and have gleaned. In these times of austerity, my logic tells me that while I'd love a storyteller for children, I'd like even more for a library to remain open, albeit with restricted hours, so that its resources can be available and utilized by people of all ages. The staff of said library are not retired, and I'm sure they would love to keep their positions. To them, it must feel like there's a double dip going on with the use of the endowment, to their detriment. I can appreciate that city budgets are tight and difficult choices have to be made. Now that community members are aware that Schaberg is on the chopping block and resources have been directed elsewhere, there is a need to be able to talk about this openly with board members and council leaders so we can figure out how such a decision was made without public input and what is the best plan going forward. It doesn't seem like people, when given a choice, want this library to close.
Diana Post April 07, 2011 at 05:43 AM
Schaberg Library serves the public of all ages especially everyone that lives on the West side of Redwood City, please find a way to keep it open. Hopefully this situation will not start a domino affect that other libraries elsewhere will be closed for lack of money. Is it possible that the former employee can charge less for storytelling for the children? That would be of some help.
Eggbert April 07, 2011 at 11:42 PM
Ah, a little light is shed: the Mayor doesn't care what his constituency thinks. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_17790171?IADID If he's indifferent to appearances and opinions from his electorate where millions of dollars and the future of the city are concerned, it's no great surprise a wee li'l library dust-up registers with him not at all. Good to know where we all stand. Might be a tad harder to ignore us at the ballot box in the next go-round, but perhaps he doesn't care about that, either.
Laura Whittaker April 08, 2011 at 04:36 AM
It is VERY apparent that Mayor Ira (in his last unelectable term) is not concerned with what we think. Just as councilwoman Rosanne Foust was not as she was censored and silenced by the FPPC for wrong doings - that is a fact that she has not contested because she is wrong. How can anyone trust her! On issues like this we need objective council members that think outside the box. PLEASE can we have candidates step forward and challenge these council members in November. I know there are two non incumbents talking to voters already - something Foust and crew do not do. Let's listen to them and see if they have something different to offer. We need fresh ideas and non-dictatorship attitudes.
Sharon Levin April 08, 2011 at 04:44 AM
Yes, I must second what Laura is saying. While at one time I liked and respected much of the Council - the stepping around the issue on Schaberg, or refusal to discuss it at all and the insistence of one member to only have off the record, private meetings regarding the funds - has really changed my feelings for and trust in much of our current group. We need a government we can believe and a government willing to engage in the democratic process (i.e. engaging with and listening to their constituency).

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