Town Square

Post a New Topic

John Arrillaga offers $25 million to rebuild Menlo Park's main library in Civic Center

Original post made on Jul 14, 2017

John Arrillaga has offered $25 million to the city of Menlo Park to rebuild its main library, according to a staff report released Thursday, July 13.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 14, 2017, 10:52 AM

Comments (28)

23 people like this
Posted by Bookworm
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 14, 2017 at 11:48 am

It doesn't matter if you rebuild the library into something grand if the person in the chair next to you in the magazine section is sleeping and snoring loudly with their shoes removed - airing their infected feet, and stinking the place up because they haven't bathed in days. I stopped going to the library because of this.

Go ahead and criticize me for being insensitive. A lot of people feel the same way that I do but are too chicken to say anything.


15 people like this
Posted by Booked
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 14, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Can we NOT put his name on this one? Public facilities should not be branded with one family's imprint. "Menlo Park Library" is welcoming to all; "Arrillaga Library" sounds like a private club.

By the way, East Palo Alto has a great public library that's located within a few minutes of most Belle Haven residents. It wouldn't make sense to try to duplicate those resources in such a small geographical area.


21 people like this
Posted by EnglishTeacher
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 14, 2017 at 12:42 pm

Why is nothing mentioned about the library's collection? A library isn't just a building--the book collection is more important than the building itself.
Many of the books are very old and falling apart, and many titles one has to request from other libraries.
Why not a word about the books?


19 people like this
Posted by mper
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 14, 2017 at 12:44 pm

With all do respect to Ms. Taylor,

The main library is no one's idea of a castle. Just check out the main libraries in the surrounding communities (San Jose to San Fran). Our main library could be a heck of a lot more useful than it is right now! Though it's great if you want a taste of that 'old time-y'feeling.;-)

Belle Haven does deserve a library. With the billions of dollars being poured into the area by FaceBook, and others, I believe a new state of the art STEM-focused high school is on the list of projects. Am I wrong? I would be very surprised if a library is not already part of the discussions as well.

Respectfully, people who donate this kind of money, have a right to more than 'weigh in' on how it will be used. Just sayin'.

Personally, in the long run, I'm rooting for an updated main library AND a new library for Belle Haven...not either/or.

Exciting times for our City!




18 people like this
Posted by CJ
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Jul 14, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Mr Arrillaga was the major donor for the library in Portola Valley. I'm grateful he continues to donate to such valuable local resources on behalf of communities. Hope that Belle Haven's library can also be rebuilt - this donation should enable the commission to focus on raising funds for it.


10 people like this
Posted by Belle Haven Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 14, 2017 at 2:26 pm

mper and anyone else who hopes to see a new library in Belle Haven as well as a new library downtown, please let City Council know about it. That's the only way it may happen.


12 people like this
Posted by nbr
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jul 14, 2017 at 3:55 pm

This is looking a gift horse in the mouth. A $25m gift horse. This reminds me of the kid who gets a nice skateboard as a gift and then asks for a better one instead. Entitled ! Hey John A. Redwood City is up the street give them a call they'd love your donation.


30 people like this
Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 14, 2017 at 3:58 pm

Thank you Mr. Arrillaga for your generosity. I hope to be like you when I grow up. Of course it goes without saying that Belle Haven deserves to have a state of the art library. I hope this donation inspires others with a passion for literacy, generosity and community.


15 people like this
Posted by Great Opportunity
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jul 14, 2017 at 5:02 pm

This is an over the top gift from Mr. Arrillaga and it is my hope that the City accepts the gift on the donor's terms. The City can sort out the challenges that this gift presents later. In the sorting out later, it would be wise for the City to find funding for a real Belle Haven library. Belle Haven is in the throes of big changes which will attract more housing developers. This means a larger population. A fully functioning library for a growing community east of 101 is an essential public service.

It's been years since the Belle Haven residents have asked the City to build a real library. Their pleas have gone ignored. Lucky west Menlo has had a beautiful library and now will get an even more beautiful library.

Here are the hours for the Main library and the Belle Haven library. The limited hours in Belle Haven library is telling. Menlo Park is a city where inequality has become accepted. We can do better.
Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by mp
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 14, 2017 at 6:58 pm

Maybe Mr. Arrillaga's people could cut the cost of an 11,000 square foot addition to a single level library from $45m to $20m? ( 11,000sq ft ~45m = 4,090 sq. ft. ) And cut out a lot of bureaucracy. $$$$$$


12 people like this
Posted by Wonton Dawg
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 14, 2017 at 7:21 pm

Wonton Dawg is a registered user.

Get off your high horses and accept the gift.


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 14, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Mr. Arrillaga donated and personally contracted for and supervised the new visitor's center at the Menlo Park VA.

Why doesn't the City let Mr. Arrillaga run this project the same way and then they could quit complaining about its impact on staff time, etc.?


2 people like this
Posted by mp
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 14, 2017 at 7:43 pm

BINGO !


Like this comment
Posted by adequate
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 14, 2017 at 11:25 pm

Menlo Park has only one library. No philanthropist has propose a new library in Sharon Heights.


20 people like this
Posted by Katherine
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 15, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Thank you, EnglishTeacher, for raising a very important point. The collection in the Menlo Park Library is a disaster. Books across the collection are sticky, smelly, and dirty. Many of the nonfiction books are so old as to be obsolete. The books in the children's department, the collection my family uses most, are filthy and falling apart. When I read a book review in the NYT or New Yorker and then go look for it in the library catalog, routinely I find that MP doesn't have even one copy.

It's easy to raise money for flashy things like a new building, but the heart of the library is what's inside. A better course of action would be for the library to totally overhaul its collection development and maintenance policies, and spend John Arrillaga's money on its collection.


6 people like this
Posted by JBCHAM
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 15, 2017 at 5:54 pm

I agree completely with the comments of nbr, Peter Carpenter and Wonton Dawg. This is a gift from a gracious philanthropist and a very successful businessman. Please accept it gratefully.


4 people like this
Posted by Atherton where are you?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 16, 2017 at 12:28 am

Atherton where are you? is a registered user.

Take the money and run,

Hard to beleive Atherton couldn't touch this amount. in donations.


4 people like this
Posted by Belle Haven School
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 16, 2017 at 12:59 am

Belle Haven School is a registered user.


Mr. A,

Would you please comment on the conditions at the Belle Haven School.

A nicer place for the homeless to bathe and sleep is great but how about a realistic chance for these kids, Maybe a real live STEM school,

pay it forward,

Thank you in advance.

You can get a copy of the assessment report from the Ravenswood School District, Belle Haven would be condemned if the city building inspectors inspected it.

Anyone remember the Oakland coop fire? Think it can't happen, It's that bad. I've read the whole report.


2 people like this
Posted by Bookworm
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 16, 2017 at 3:54 pm

[Post removed for using a name used by another poster.]


14 people like this
Posted by BH resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 17, 2017 at 12:53 pm

A portion of this donation should go towards building a new Belle Haven library at Onetta Harris community center. The current library is totally inadequate to serve the needs of residents on this side of town. At every single community, city council or FB meeting, we have requested a new library. It is way overdue.


8 people like this
Posted by not just a donation
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 17, 2017 at 2:54 pm

With all the other city buildings Arrillaga worked on, there was not just a donation. Arrillaga's company did the design and construction work. It's possible that Arrillaga, Facebook or some other benefactor could underwrite a new building at Onetta Harris, but the city and community have yet to start a discussions about what exactly should be there. The process for remodeling the existing library has been going on for some time.


8 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2017 at 5:34 pm

The ego and name-naming is odd, but that's probably noted in books of the mind. This man obviously has great wealth, makes money off the design and construction of his buildings, and probably gets some tax breaks, especially if they are public buildings, but I'm assuming here.

So it's a give and take = even?

The Council needs community input/approval for naming THEIR public buildings, imvo (valued).






19 people like this
Posted by Bookworm
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 17, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Although I didn't read anywhere in the article that Mr. Arrillage is demanding that the library bear his name, I agree with Beth that public buildings shouldn't be named after donors. I think it's fine to have a plaque on the outside of a building, acknowledging the donor for their contribution, but a public building, such as a library, shouldn't be named after the donor. I hope it remains the Menlo Park Library.

Thank you Mr. Arrillage for your contribution!


10 people like this
Posted by Cmon
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2017 at 9:44 pm

Thank you John Arrillaga. This is a very generous offer and our city should gratefullu accept. I remember all the fuss over the gym. It worked out great and is now a fantastic resource for our town. He will be thoughtful about the library, will accept reasonable feedback, and build a nice facility. Yes, we can manage it a bit better for the enjoyment of all.

I don't know the man but I find his generosity to this town to be inspiring.


2 people like this
Posted by Donald
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2017 at 11:08 pm

As a former Menlo Park resident, where we raised 3 children and now have 2 grandchildren in the MP school district, I still maintain a emotional bond with the City... and I still shop in your town. How fortunate you are to have been given this $25MM offer. Please move forward wisely as you consider the wants and needs of all involved. Even those of us who now live in Palo Alto. For my Stanford friends... Go Cal!


4 people like this
Posted by mper
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 19, 2017 at 1:25 pm

A couple of unsolicited thoughts:

People have been putting their name on things, or otherwise visibly leaving their mark since the beginning of time...or at least since the building of the pyramids. You may not approve, but It's nothing weird or unusual.

I don't think so much about being grateful, as I do about recognizing that few people have this kind of money and only one person has stepped forward. It's an unusual opportunity for our city and also, not surprisingly good for his company, his employees and himself.

Without a doubt, his proposal seriously defrays his own costs, but it also puts us on the road to developing a City-wide, state-of-the-art library system. That works for me.

Do we really want to leave the opportunity on the table because we can't fully control the terms? Then what?


9 people like this
Posted by Randy Clunge
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 19, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Lovely gesture, I'd love to have that kind of cash to put down - maybe rebuild Flood Park and make it worth a visit again. Buy up some of the old car lots and make parks there too.... Menlo PARK needs more park areas for the kids to play - keep them off their gadgets.


8 people like this
Posted by There must be a way to accomplish both
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2017 at 11:30 pm

There must be a way to accomplish both is a registered user.

"There is a great ... disparity, if you will, of city facilities," she said, referring to the difference between central Menlo Park and Belle Haven. "(Belle Haven) is really taking the brunt of all new development," she said.

"I hope a donor will come forward to help with that too," she noted.

Cecilia Taylor, a Belle Haven resident who ran for City Council last year and has been active in the community organizing activities since then, had stronger words. "How could a (philanthropist) fail to address the portion of Menlo Park that does not have an adequate library? ... Why rebuild a castle in (an) affluent community that has a plethora of resources?"

There are many children who live in Belle Haven, most of whom, she said, "are forced to attend a school district that lacks resources. All children and adults need to have access to resources. A library is that resource."


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

A New Way to Think About High Speed Rail
By Steve Levy | 14 comments | 1,797 views

Twenty Years in the Sixties: How an Alcoholic Hippie Became a Self-Giving Servant
By Aldis Petriceks | 0 comments | 1,659 views

Sweet Potato Canapé and Food Party! Holiday Favorites
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 980 views

Couples: Slowing Down & Content and Process Conversation
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 877 views

 

The holidays are here!

From live music to a visit with Santa, here's a look at some local holiday activities to help you get into the spirit of the season.

VIEW