|County library panel gets an earful from RP-Cotati citizens
The Sonoma County Library Commission came to the Rohnert Park-Cotati Public Library for a 6:30 p.m. meeting in the Armando Flores Forum Room.
This was Monday night this week, and the library was closed, as it is every Monday.
But there were only a few vacant chairs in the room just inside the library’s main doors, as nearly 60 apparently dedicated users crowded the room. About 20 of them trooped to the microphone to voice their concerns to county commissioners. Turnout of the public to hear what the county system had to say must have been gratifying. Most meetings, like city council or planning commission, have far lesser audiences.
The main concerns were the policy for holding books in reserve when the library gets a request and the automated book checkout system now in effect.
Holding books in reserve means someone wants the library to get them a certain book and, “How soon can I pick it up?” This sets in motion a mostly unseen process. All county libraries are constantly shuttling books from one branch to another. RP-Cotati doesn’t have the request, but Healdsburg does? OK, send it down to RP.
Multiply this by lumping all branches together, and you have a lot of delivery truck service each library has to pay for. There was talk Monday night for charging for this hold in reserve policy, say 10 cents a day. But this idea led to complications.
John Dell’Osso, of the RP-Cotati Library Advisory Board said, ”I’d need a lot of certified reasons why this policy should even be considered.” A representative said, “We’re going to have to start paying for things we used to get free.” It was an apt summation.
Public complaints were also heard about the library’s automated self-checkout system. Naturally, not everyone with a library card is automatically computer savvy, glitches can arise and human help is needed in the process. A few speakers said relying on library assistants behind the counter is a faster checkout method.