|Carter named to library commission
New commissioner would like library to reopen on Mondays
Cotati’s City Council had a tough decision to make at its meeting on Tuesday, July 8.
This was not a matter if fiscal urgency or an answer to a community crisis.
The council had to choose between two highly qualified people to be the representative on the Sonoma County Library Commission.
The volunteer position – which also has a two-year term – had been advertised for months, but the two who chose to go through the process were Hilary C. Smith and Linda Garcia. After both made presentations to the council, Smith was the unanimous choice.
Smith had the edge, Councilman John Moore said, because she has experience in the library field.
She currently is an adjunct librarian at Santa Rosa Junior College.
“I like libraries, I love the public library system, and the mission is unique and empowers people when you have a robust system,” said Smith, a 23-year resident of Cotati.
“My experience is with academic libraries, so this will give me the opportunity to learn more about the nuts and bolts of how our public library system works, and be able to have an impact there.”
The Sonoma County library system, compared with other counties, is vastly underfunded. A member of the Library Advisory Board, Barbara Mackenzie, spoke to the council about the library’s lack of funding and said there will probably be a ballot measure in the future to seek additional funding for the library.
Smith said she didn’t know about the potential ballot measure until attending a board meeting the night before.
“I’m going to need to study that more,” Smith said. “The libraries are certainly a worthy cause, and I think communities tend to support their libraries, but they’re also competing with other worthy measures and it can be challenging to get it passed, and we’re working with a time constraint.”
Smith earned a BA in psychology from Dominican College in 1996. She then earned a masters in humanities at Dominican University of California in 2003 and got a Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University in 2012.
She has some ideas on changes she’d like to see made in the Sonoma County library system.
“Anything I say now is an external view, but I would like to see it opened again on Mondays,” Smith said. “I would love to see more hours…a lot of people would like to see that, but it takes money. More access is what I’d like. Increasing bandwidth is also something I’d like to see.”
A library commissioner provides governance for the county library, establishes policy, sets goals and objectives, hires and evaluates the library director, establishes and monitors the annual budget, signs necessary contracts, exercises other powers consistent with the law to foster the effectiveness and management of the library.