Kathy Mc Keithen has stated in previous remarks that the chosen new library building destined for Holbrook Palmer Park is an issue "too complex" for Atherton residents to understand. As part of the EIR comment period Council Member Jerry Carlson asked a number of questions apparently to try and understand this "complex" issue. The response from the San Mateo Joint Power (JPA) was made by Anne-Marie Despain, Director of Library Services, published on the Town website, and is linked below. It is no wonder that the issue is complex as her responses are cloaked in language the average non-bureaucrat cannot possibly understand. When asked what part of the overhead of the Park library the JPA is going to assume she could not and did not answer as it is still to be negotiated. This means the Town Council has no idea of the costs of the building and grounds that the Town is going to assume.
Throughout California and the United States there is a growing movement to outsource library services for small communities and towns as regional public library consortiums become too costly primarily with administrative and public employee salaries and pensions. Many California communities have contracted with Library Systems & Services (LSSI), and this company would be a perfect solution for Atherton to become independent of a the JPA which is a regional library system that does not have the interests of our town at heart but is intent on establishing a community center in the Park for a population outside Atherton. Basically that is the heart of the matter and residents should be allowed to decide if they want that by a direct vote. A smaller new, remodeled library in its present location or part of a master town center concept is the obvious solution with the library operated by a private company who can provide the efficiencies of operation, purchasing, and service the needs of Atherton alone.
To view the services and list of libraries using LSSI please use this link: