Janice O’Driscoll, the interim director of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries (SCPL), and Kate Canlis, Vice President of Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries, made a presentation last week at the Capitola-Aptos Rotary Club to discuss the state of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries and Ballot Measure S, a $67 million bond measure to improve the Santa Cruz Public Libraries.
Ms. O’Driscoll began with some background on the Santa Cruz Public library system. She noted that it has 10 branches, a bookmobile and a virtual services branch. It serves 219,000 people in northern Santa Cruz County from past Davenport down to the border of Freedom (Watsonville is not part of the SCPL system). The system handles 2 million circulations per year including “hard” books, e-books and downloaded video. They have 223,000 titles in their collections (including electronic or virtual items). In addition, they also provide 2300 programs a year for people of all ages. Programs vary including helping seniors learn to use iPads and kids learning to play chess.
Ms. O’Driscoll stated that the Library has signed a contract for a faster broadband Internet connection, which will go into effect the first part of July. This will necessitate that each branch be rewired and accommodate the faster service. They serve families and individuals who can’t afford Internet access (or a computer) at home. Their goal is to bring everyone in the county into the 21st century.
Kate Canlis spoke specifically about Measure S, which will pay for the upgraded wiring and many other renovations and improvements. These will include new roofs, story-telling space for kids, book clubs for adults, science programs, new bathrooms and a new building in Felton. Capitola also needs a new building which will be partially funded by redevelopment money.
Measure S will be on the ballot in June and will add $49.50 to property taxes per residential parcel, for a span of 30 years. The measure will require 2/3rds voter approval to pass, so strong community support will be needed if the measure is to be successful.