- Published on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 20:00
- Written by Megan Ma - Town Crier Staff Writer
An extension to the Los Altos main library that could house a quiet study area and a teen reading room could cost more than $3.3 million to build, prompting library supporters to look into other funding sources.
Last week the city council authorized the Los Altos Library Commission, a citizen advisory committee, to spearhead the expansion project and corral a group of library supporters to get the project off the ground.
The group already has two proposals for the expansion, drafted last year by an architect, that could include approximately 4,000 square feet of additional space. Expanding into the library's staff parking lot, the extension would create much needed shelf space for the library's overflowing collection of books and recording materials, said Cheryl Houts, Los Altos Library librarian.
Because the main library building on South San Antonio Road is owned by the city, it is up to Los Altos officials to approve the final project once the funds are available.
Commissioners plan to use at least $1.2 million for the project - part of a large bequest from Virginia Whipple, a longtime library supporter who died in 2004. Whipple's estate also left $1.6 million for the Los Altos Library Endowment. Potentially, $2.4 million is available for construction of the new wing if the commission decides to borrow $1 million, according to estimates.
If that's not enough, the library commission has inquired into renewing a parcel tax through the North County Library Authority (NCLA). The current tax will expire in 2010. The original parcel tax was used for the 1993 expansion of the Los Altos Library; the remaining amount funded extra library hours. Curtis Cole, Los Altos mayor and NCLA member, said the group is looking into placing the parcel tax renewal measure on the 2008 statewide ballot.
Of the long process for building a new wing, begun in 2004, Houts said, "Good things always take time."
According to Houts, the Los Altos main library has the highest circulation per capita of any library in the state.