|No progress made on expanding RP Library’s hours
Although it took up most of the discussion, little was accomplished on the subject of Monday closure of all libraries in Sonoma County. This was the meeting of the Rohnert Park-Cotati Regional Library Advisory Board, held Tuesday Dec. 17, from 4 to 5:15 p.m. However, some figures spelling out how much it would cost the local library to expand its hours were floated.
On hand to supply some answers were county library commissioner Paul Heavenridge, David Dodd and Jaime Dickerson, both interim co-directors but not commission members.
RP-Cotati Library Manager Nancy Kleban told the library advisory board LAB), “We’re stretched awfully thin now, and I have to often substitute as children’s librarian and also reference desk librarian.
“The Monday closures and the short hours Saturday when we have to close at 4 p.m. don’t help.”
She estimated it would cost about $275,000 to fully staff the library if hours were expanded.
Dodd said, if any library wanted to open Mondays and add to Saturday hours “it would cost about $830,000 a year. We’ve heard our financial experts figure if a tax bill was passed by any city, it could be $49 a year for each parcel of property.”
“So we’re talking about a million dollars a year to open on Mondays,” said Barbara Mackenzie, vice-chairwoman of LAB.
Heavenridge agreed and also said, the library commission “is in support of Monday openings.”
Dodd added, “This is a difficult time to explore local funding.”
RP City Councilman and vice-Mayor Amy Ahanotu, said, “Different mechanisms can come into play on library funding. Discussions on this in January and February should be quite interesting.”
The LAB’s next meeting isn’t scheduled until Feb. 18.
The board also discussed changing its meeting times because it’s difficult to have full membership present Tuesdays at 4 p.m. They talked about Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. on alternate months next year. The library is closed at this hour but the Armando Flores meeting room is open for meetings.
Despite the 40-hour week with Monday closures, Kleban reported daily attendance is still increasing every month.
We just wanted to make sure that the numbers floated at this meeting be correctly understood. The costs mentioned are for the entire Sonoma County Library system, not the cost for adequate staffing and additional hours for the Rohnert Park-Cotati branch alone.
Thus, $275,000 would be the estimated amount needed to provide for adequate staffing at present service hour levels throughout the entire library system. Likewise, $830,000 would be the estimated cost of adding eight additional hours on Mondays and two additional hours on Saturdays for the entire library system.
Thanks again for the report!
--David Dodd and Jaime Anderson, Interim Co-Directors