Idea of Cotati library floated
Again, money issues are biggest roadblock to satellite facility
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By Jud Snyder  June 21, 2013 12:00 am

It’s been almost eight years ago when the Cotati City Council rejected sharing in the campaign for a new public library in Rohnert Park. But at the Tuesday, June 18 meeting of the RP Library Advisory Board (LAB), the idea of a Cotati library branch was discussed. No decision was reached.

The topic came up while LAB members present were involved in a continuing discussion on how they can “become more effective, reach out and listen to the community.” Lisa Moore, chairwoman, and former Cotati mayor and city council member, wondered how “a satellite library would work in Cotati.” She noted Cotati already has a city-owned community room for meetings behind city hall “that’s underutilized.”

This building, formerly a middle school with a large assembly room, kitchen, classrooms and was used to house the city’s disbanded recreation department.

The Sonoma County Library Commission has a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) with cities and sets governing rules for all libraries. Present at the meeting was Paul Heavenridge of the county commission who’s the panel’s liaison for RP.

LAB members noted under terms of the JPA, the city provides the building and the county commission provides books, computers and pays for library personnel including benefits.

Heavenridge said he wasn’t sure how the financing of a branch library works but promised to look at the JPA for answers. 

Amy Ahanotu, RP City Council liaison to the LAB, said, “If Cotati wants a library, why should the county commission say no to the idea?”

LAB member Barbara Mackenzie replied, “They’re always making the point they don’t have any money.”

Moore would also like to see the bookmobile program return to Cotati. It was dismantled years ago. She admitted her idea for a Cotati library “was basically for the future…it’s always been my pipe dream.” 

“It’s been a very interesting discussion,” said Heavenridge.

Only four LAB members were present June 18. They welcomed new member Leah Conde and discussed ways to recruit more new members to fill board vacancies.

Elections for new LAB officers were scheduled but they were postponed until their next meeting in August. This week’s meeting was the last one for Moore as chairwoman.

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