For the first time in decades, significant upgrades and improvements are planned for libraries in our district. Let’s look at how we got here, what’s planned and how you can get involved in the process.
How did we get here?
In 2013, the Santa Cruz Public Libraries engaged in a comprehensive facilities master planning process to assess the needs at each of their branches and found significant challenges in everything from structural problems to technological needs to meet modern demands. The Library Board at the time concluded that a local source a funding was needed to upgrade and improve local libraries — including the Aptos, La Selva and Capitola branches.
In June 2016 you approved Measure S, the Library Improvement Bond Measure, which is slated to generate $67 million for the library system.
What’s planned in our district?
While improvements are planned throughout the system, here are the general plans for branches within our district.
First, the projects in Capitola, La Selva and Aptos are in varying stages of the process. The Capitola Library, for example, has already held its groundbreaking and has general design plans available. The La Selva Beach Library held a community meeting where initial design elements were shown and feedback on the design (interior and exterior) as well as community requests for how the space is allocated were received and considered. The Aptos Library is in the earliest stages and a preliminary community scoping meeting (where residents provided high-level inputs into what they would like to see in the library) was held in mid-November. This is the first of multiple community input sessions planned for Aptos.
With that said, all of the projects will include important accessibility (ADA) improvements. All of the projects will receive structural improvements, lighting, heating upgrades and will be overall brought up to current code.
The updated libraries will also receive significant interior improvements with Capitola, for example, including a community/meeting room with flexible furnishings, a kitchenette and a media wall, an expanded children’s area, a dedicated teen area, reader and study seating spread around the library, including an adult reading nook and a fireplace reading area, enhanced book and media collections and more.
In La Selva, there are discussions on how to improve the children’s area, provide for flexibility in the space for meetings and book clubs, increase natural lighting and airflow, expand the available seating for reading and studying and much more.
How can you get involved?
Your input into these designs and renovations are essential! You can get involved in many ways: from attending an upcoming community meeting, submitting comments to the project manager directly, joining or reaching out to the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries (and specifically the Friends groups associated with these branches) and more.
The Santa Cruz Public Libraries website — www.santacruzpl.org/measure_s — is maintaining updates on each project and how to get involved.
If you’d like to contact the project manager directly (with questions or suggestions on the Aptos or La Selva projects), here is the info: Damon Adlao, Project Manager, County of Santa Cruz, Dept. of Public Works, 454-2343.
If you’d like to attend an upcoming community meeting on the Aptos Library, the next meeting will be held in the branch’s community room on Tuesday, Dec. 11 from 7-8 p.m. The Friends of the Aptos Library can be found at www.friendsofaptoslibrary.org.
If you want to get involved in the Capitola Library improvements, you can connect with the Friends of the Capitola Library at capitolalibraryfriends.org — where you can see photos of the proposed design and help get that project over the finish line.
You can connect with the La Selva Library through the Friends of the La Selva Beach Library via the main site at fscpl.org.
As always, you can also reach out to me with your thoughts. Feel free to call me at 454-2200.