Los Altos council candidates address potential for new library

Los Altos Library
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier File Photo
Parents and caregivers shuffle in and out of the existing downtown Los Altos library.

Seven candidates are running for three open seats on the five-member Los Altos City Council in the Nov. 3 election.

Local civic groups prepared a series of questions, which the candidates are answering in each issue of the Town Crier in advance of the election.

Participating groups include the local chapter of the American Association of University Women, the Center for Age-Friendly Excellence, GreenTown Los Altos, the Los Altos Community Coalition, Los Altos Community Foundation, Los Altos Forward, the Los Altos Town Crier and the Los Altos Women’s Caucus.

Question: Do you think the community needs a new library? If so, where would you suggest a new library be located?

• Jonathan Weinberg: We need a modern library to provide information services, children’s programs, places to socialize and learn, and more. Currently, Los Altos must prioritize other projects (police station, Emergency Operations Center, Grant Park). Let’s work with residents, the Library Commission and Friends of the Library to assess needs and locations.

• Alex Rubashevsky: Yes, once there is money in the budget. Technology made old-style libraries obsolete. The new library will use virtual reality, e-books, etc., and should have more online tools. The building itself will be a communication hub and a congregation place. The old building can be repurposed, for example, as a children’s or senior center.

• Terri Couture: The Los Altos residents love our library. To build a new library, we need to prioritize the order of infrastructure projects. The council can help to solicit funds through bonds and other resources. Together the residents can decide the best location.

• Kuljeet Kalkat: Yes. Our library is the smallest and yet most actively used among all North County Library Authority libraries. If we had a newer or bigger library, we could get more utilization, a bigger collection and many more new services for our residents. It would be appropriate to first find a way to put the new library where the current one is.

• Sally Meadows: Our main library is nearing 60; a new one would offer current building and environmental standards; a safe, accessible children’s area; technology for learning resources; and flexible spaces for programming and operations. It should remain in its current location to maintain connection with the Los Altos History Museum and the new community center.

• Lynette Lee Eng: We all want a wonderful library. The library is not a city council decision. The library is operated by the county, which leases the buildings. Any bond or parcel tax must be advanced by the North County Library Authority, the joint authority of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. It is a decision for the people of the North County.

• Scott Spielman: Yes. A two-story library building built at the present main library location is needed. We need more space for children’s programs and children’s restrooms. We need more meeting spaces to hold events. Additional space for computer stations and space for Friends of the Library should be provided as well.

Note: A virtual forum spotlighting the seven candidates was held Sept. 30. To view the forum, visit

This is week seven in the series of questions posed to the candidates. To view the previous questions and answers, visit the Town Crier's election page.

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