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Update on the Pleasant Hill Library Task Force

Oct 30, 2014 08:41PM ● Published by Jennifer Neys

Update on the Pleasant Hill Library Task Force

An update on the Pleasant Hill Library Task Force was given at the October 6 city council meeting. The task force was established at the March 10 city council meeting in order to “explore the need for and feasibility of constructing a new library building serving the residents of Pleasant Hill.” To date, the eleven-member task force includes County Librarian Jessica Hudson, city council members Jack Weir and Michael Harris, with Harris also serving as chair of the committee, and Supervisor Karen Mitchoff as vice chair. The task force members are evaluating various sites around the city for a new library facility, including a possible new two-story facility on the southwest corner of Pleasant Hill Park due to the central location and access to downtown. However, issues and concerns would need to be worked out with the Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District. Other District sites to consider are the Winslow Center and the School House property. Another possibility is the Frank Salfingere Park adjacent to the community center.

Task force members recently toured other newly built local libraries to evaluate the layout of each facility. Among other items, their analysis has determined the need for a new 20,000+ sq. ft. facility comprised of a main library area with adult collections and a children/early learning area, along with a teen area, community meeting rooms, public technology, and staff workrooms. County Librarian Jessica Hudson said, “Flexibility (of stacks, furniture and equipment) was key in everything we looked at. Pleasant Hill library sees about 1,200 people a day, so having flexible spaces and adequate parking to meet the anticipated increase in usage is very important.”

Community outreach FAQs are currently being developed and will include such questions as: Why does Pleasant Hill need a new library building? How will a new library building support education in Pleasant Hill? The FAQs will be published on the city website and various media outlets. In addition, town hall meetings will be scheduled in the near future.

“It is a tricky undertaking in a city like ours that is largely built out and where there is not a lot of available land for creating the kind of facility that I think our city both deserves and desires. It is easier to fund and get the community excited about the prospect and concept of a multi-use facility. It is well worth ensuring that we are looking at the most comprehensive set of options or opportunities and what that will do is enhance the likelihood that we get a library here that meets the needs of the community,” said Councilmember David Durant.

Future analysis will include how the new library would be funded and how other facilities are funded and asking for continued public input in the coming months and years.  “Our (Pleasant Hill) library is one of the most highly used branches in our entire county library system. It’s only beat out by Walnut Creek,” continued Jessica Hudson.

 

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