Library board knows Monday openings wanted
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By Jud Snyder  October 18, 2013 12:00 am

The Advisory Board of the Rohnert Park-Cotati Public Library held a meeting Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 4 pm in the library conference room. 

The two major topics of discussion were recruiting new members for the board and the question that pops up at most LAB meetings: when will the library be able to re-open its doors on Mondays? 

Taking the second topic first, LAB members present acknowledged there’s quite a bit of pressure from library-goers to return to the former Monday schedule. The day was lost for all county libraries because of budget cuts two years ago. Advisory Board member Brian Masterson, RP Public Safety Director, said, “Any community library in the county can be opened if it gets funding.”

Amy Ahanotu, RP City Councilman and liaison to the LAB, agreed with Masterson. “But the city can’t be involved. I don’t believe it can float any bond just for a library schedule for voters to approve,” Ahanotu said.

Paul Heavenridge, a member of the Sonoma County Library Commission, cautioned, “There’d be confusion if it could be done. Voters would see it as just another tax proposal. But the idea of separate funding is a great one.”

An idea to see if Friends of the Library could fund a Monday opening was suggested. They just held another successful used book sale earlier this month and earned $3,800 plus weekly earnings from their bookstore inside the library.

“Any funding would call for a one or two-year full commitment,” said Heavenridge. “Costs would include paying salaries for the branch manager plus paid staff members every month.” And he wasn’t sure Friends of the Library could afford this extra expense. Ahanotu added, “The entire community would have to be committed for this to happen.”

On the subject of recruiting new members, LAB vice-chairwoman Barbara Mackenzie noted the recently elected LAB chairwoman, Leah Conde, had to resign from the board because her new job hours made her unavailable for 4 p.m. meetings. 

This triggered a discussion about changing meeting times every other month from 4 p.m. to 5:30, 6 or 7 p.m. If LAB meetings are held when the library’s closed, they possibly could be held in the Armando Flores forum room. But this would be an added expense to the panel, for a library staffer would have to be present just to open and close doors.

LAB will hold an election soon by members to name a new chairman.

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