santa cruz county libraries
January 2019

Improvements to our Libraries: County Scoop January 2019

Zach Friend

By Zach Friend, County Supervisor

Libraries are a great place for families. From the children’s activities and books to the digital options – families often make our local libraries a regular stop. But many of our local libraries are outdated. Now, for the first time in decades, significant upgrades and improvements are planned for libraries throughout the county. Let’s look at how we got here, what’s planned and how you can get involved in the process.

santa cruz county libraries

How Did We Get Here?

In 2013, the Santa Cruz Public Libraries engaged in a comprehensive facilities master planning process to assess the needs at each of their branches and found significant challenges in everything from structural problems to technological needs to meet modern demands. The Library Board at the time concluded that a local source a funding was needed to upgrade and improve local libraries – including the Downtown Santa Cruz, Aptos, Felton, La Selva and Capitola branches.

In June of 2016 you approved Measure S, the Library Improvement Bond Measure, which is slated to generate $67 million for the library system.

What’s Planned?

While improvements are planned throughout the system, here are some highlights for some of the branches.

First, the library projects in the county are in varying stages of the process. The Capitola Library and Felton Library, for example, have already held its groundbreaking and has general design plans available. The La Selva Beach Library held a community meeting where initial design elements were shown and feedback on the design (interior and exterior) as well as community requests for how the space is allocated were received and considered. The Aptos Library is in the earliest stages and two preliminary community scoping meetings (where residents provided input into what they would like to see in the library) were held in the last two months.

In June of 2016 you approved Measure S, the Library Improvement Bond Measure, which is slated to generate $67 million for the library system.

All of the projects will include important accessibility (ADA) improvements. All of the projects will receive structural improvements, lighting, heating upgrades and will be brought up to current code.

The updated libraries will also receive significant interior improvements with Capitola, for example, including a community/meeting room with flexible furnishings, a kitchenette and a media wall, an expanded children’s area, a dedicated teen area, reader and study seating spread around the library, including an adult reading nook and a fireplace reading area, enhanced book and media collections and more.

In La Selva, there are discussions on how to improve the children’s area, provide for flexibility in the space for meetings and book clubs, increase natural lighting and airflow, expand the available seating for reading and studying and much more. All of the libraries will have improved areas for children including more interactive options, digital options and programs planned.

How Can You Get Involved?

Your input into these designs and renovations are essential! You can get involved in many ways: from attending an upcoming community meeting, submitting comments to the project manager directly, joining or reaching out to the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries (and specifically the Friends groups associated with these branches) and more.

The Santa Cruz Public Libraries website – www.santacruzpl.org/measure_s/ – is maintaining updates on each project and how to get involved.

If you’d like to contact the project manager directly (with questions or suggestions on the Aptos or La Selva projects) here is the info: Damon Adlao, Project Manager, County of Santa Cruz, Dept. of Public Works 454-2343.

The Friends of the Aptos Library can be found at https://www.friendsofaptoslibrary.org.

If you want to get involved in the Capitola Library improvements you can connect with the Friends of the Capitola Library at https://capitolalibraryfriends.org – where you can see photos of the proposed design and help get that project over the finish line.

You can connect with the La Selva Library and other libraries in the county through the main Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries site at: https://fscpl.org.

As always, I appreciate hearing your thoughts. If you have questions on these items feel free to call my office a 454- 2200.

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