FLF formed in 2005 to oppose closure of the Felton branch library, and our group has successfully fought off three closure attempts. At the same time we have worked to bring to Felton a larger, modern, library facility that can serve the San Lorenzo Valley for the next fifty years as a community hub and lifelong learning center.
Our efforts on behalf of a new facility have been two-pronged — the property and funding. We have worked with County and Library officials, as well as with members of the Verutti family, to render the property adjacent to the Felton post office “shovel ready” for construction. Plans for a 9300 square-foot facility, Planning Department approvals, and environmental reports, are all either completed or well-developed. FLF is confident that, when funding exists, construction of the Felton branch will be ready to start.
Regarding funding, while fundraisers, bequests, donations, and grants have helped our effort tremendously over the years, construction of a facility that will cost more than nine million dollars will be possible only with public funding. All branches in the ten-branch Santa Cruz library system need facilities funding, whether for entirely new buildings, major upgrades, or relatively minor renovations, and for this reason the agencies that comprise our system (SC County, and the cities of Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, and Capitola) currently plan to ask County voters to approve a parcel tax to fund facilities work, probably in 2016 (previous plans were for a 2015 vote). Assuming that the tax measure adequately addresses SLV’s need for improved library services, FLF members expect to work on behalf of passage.
The Library system is currently engaged in discussions and negotiations regarding governance, finances, and allocation of resources. In addition, with the departure of the current Director this June, recruitment will commence for a new Library Director. FLF is committed to keeping SLV residents informed of all developments in the system that may affect library services to the Valley. In addition FLF intends to resume regular group meetings and activities later in 2015, especially if a ballot measure looks imminent.