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MV residents hit with $80 county library fee

Original post made on Jun 14, 2011

Palo Alto and Mountain View residents who make use of the county's vast library collection available in Los Altos libraries will have to pay an $80 library card fee beginning July 1.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 13, 2011, 3:24 PM

Comments (26)

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Posted by I actually like Los Altos
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 14, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Luckily for MV residents, MV has a vastly superior library so no need to use Los Altos fee based system. That town seems like its speeding downhill fast. Too bad, maybe too many prop 13 home owners demanding top flight services but nobody is there in the tax base to pay the bills(?)


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Posted by Jes' Sayin'
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm

When times get tough and the ship is taking on water it's every rat for himself, huh?

This is not the time to pull apart, Los Altos, but to stay together. We're stronger united. In fact Mountain View and Palo Alto should see if they can join in the system. There's no savings in going it alone.
Instead they just restructure a bit how the DVD lendings work so that it's not so labor intensive.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 14, 2011 at 2:19 pm

MV and PA should see if they can join the system. MV has a great library but it's limited in size. As a school teacher it is so much easier for me to find books for my kids thru the Santa Clara County system since I can request books from anywhere in the entire system.


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Posted by Thom
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jun 14, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Take the money out of the illegal earnings of those that hang out at the city day worker center.


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Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 14, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I wonder if Los Altos District School Teachers, who happen to live outside of Los Altos, can check out books and DVD's for use in their classroom without paying the $80 fee?

Just curious.


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Posted by taxpayer
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm

What is it about Los Altos people? They don't want Mountain View residents to use their services, but they have no problem in using ours. For example, the city of Mountain View does not charge a field fee to AYSO45 to benefit the kids of our community including kids from Los Altos, but Los Altos charges AYSO45 to use their fields.

On top of that, they also use our tennis courts and baseball fields. Maybe it's time to start charging Los Altos residents a surcharge for all the services Mountain View provides them.


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Posted by Hardin
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 14, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Even with the Internet, libraries provide a fundamental service for children and adults alike, that should transcend borders. Leveraging material availability by establishing a network of book lending would make materials more available to anyone who needs them, regardless where they live. This is a good thing for all of us, by increasing knowledge and awareness of our citizens.

There are costs to running and maintaining libraries, so I'm open to fees to help pay for this service. However, what I haven't seen is an attempt by some libraries to streamline and improve their services before asking for more money.

Sunnyvale Public libraries, on the other hand, has been diligently modernizing their library services, providing online material searches and holds, automating the checkout process, and starting up regular email updates to inform library card holders of upcoming events. In doing so, they've reduced the amount of manual labor needed to inventory returned books, check out new books, and distribute materials on hold. These are the types of improvements I would expect all libraries to make, to streamline their operations, before they ask for more money.


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Posted by typo
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Typo: "Los Alto High School"


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Posted by Coach B.
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jun 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm

@taxpayer: "Mountain View does not charge a field fee to AYSO45 to benefit the kids of our community including kids from Los Altos, but Los Altos charges AYSO45 to use their fields."

Mountain View started charging youth sports a year and a half ago, but Los Altos charges five or six times as much so I can't argue with your general sentiment, though.


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Posted by Ron
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Well "I actually like Los Altos" if you actually read the article you would have noticed the bit about the "relatively high property tax revenue". In other words, FAIL on the Prop 13 tax complaint. Like Mr. Mordo said, this is about chasing away the riff raff, (I mean non-Los Altos residents) by making it prohibitively expensive.


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Posted by MV-LA PROPERTY OWNER
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 14, 2011 at 5:38 pm

What about those of us who own property in Los Altos and pay the parcel tax, but live in Mountain View? Do we get the same priviledges as other who live in but may or may not be property owners in Los Altans, or are we discriminated against by our mailing address?


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Posted by Jes' Sayin'
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm

What century is Hardin posting from? Of course all libraries do those things now.


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Posted by Jes' Sayin'
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 14, 2011 at 5:56 pm

No James Thurber, doesn't sound like you'll be able to check things out on that basis. Here's the FAQ:
Web Link


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Posted by HB
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 14, 2011 at 6:04 pm

It's the century of the internet. Soon schools and libraries will be outdated due to the internet.


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Posted by Sabrina
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:23 pm

>>>Posted by taxpayer, a resident of the Waverly Park neighborhood, 6 hours ago

"What is it about Los Altos people? They don't want Mountain View residents to use their services, but they have no problem in using ours."

Okay, this is actually NOT a Los Altos versus Mountain View issue. The issue is that the Santa Clara County Library System (which also includes branches in Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Milpitas, Morgan Hill and Saratoga) has been sucked of so much funding that they are experimenting with new ways of supporting a system that is designed to be free to the public. One of these ways is to make it free only to those who are residents of the city they serve, which means charging residents outside those cities an $80 fee to use the services. This has absolutely nothing to do with a decision made solely by the city of Los Altos, it is county wide.

I am not sure how difficult it would be for Los Altos to leave the county system, but truth be told that county libraries are run much differently than city libraries so they would not be able to merge with Mountain View at just the drop of a hat. What would be amazing is if all the local libraries in the South Bay merged in a way that the Peninsula Library System has done just a little way's up north. I wonder if the powers that be have this on the table?

>>>Posted by MV-LA PROPERTY OWNER, a resident of the Waverly Park neighborhood

"What about those of us who own property in Los Altos and pay the parcel tax, but live in Mountain View?"

If you can prove that you live in Los Altos, then you will be granted a library card in Los Altos. And as stated above, this is not a decision determined by the city. It is enforced county-wide.


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Posted by Sabrina
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:43 pm

>>>Posted by HB, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, 3 hours ago

"It's the century of the internet. Soon schools and libraries will be outdated due to the internet."

Actually, public libraries are now one of the main places where people go to access the internet for free. They are also one of the main places where students go when school is out for the day.

If you ever go to the library at 3 PM on a weekday, or at anytime during the weekend, you will see what I mean.


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Posted by Laura Macias
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jun 15, 2011 at 7:48 am

Sabrina is correct. While the name Santa Clara County Library system implies more far-reaching coverage-- in fact only about 25% of SC County residents are covered through the municipalities in their system. It's not a Los Altos/MV issue. Jean Mordo is from LAH and is objecting to the outsider fee.

I think that most of the cities in the SCC library system are general law not charter cities like MV, Svale, Santa Clara and Palo Alto and SJ. Most gen law cities rely on county to provide svcs that their city does not such as a full library facility or police and fire etc.

Amazing to me, libraries statewide received only $30M annually in the past. The new state budget proposes cutting the amount in half. As others noted, libraries provide great services and value. Fyi, about 40% of MV library users are not residents of libraries.
Should MV etc respond with a similar outsider fee?


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Posted by Laura Macias
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jun 15, 2011 at 8:01 am

Why yes, that sentence should read, about 40% of MV library users are not residents of MV.


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Posted by Laura Macias
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jun 15, 2011 at 8:19 am

Why yes, that sentence should read, about 40% of MV library users are not residents of MV.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Well, gee Ms. Macias. Let's just fee people to death if you can't tax them. Mountain View just loves to apply fees to just about anything thanks to you and the Council. Why not cut back on salaries and pensions and put more money into schools and libraries. Yeah, bla, bla, bla, I thought so.

And BTW, if you are going to throw out percentages, how many residents of Mountain View are actually legal citizens?


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Posted by Sabrina
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm

I hope that the MV library does not need to resort to charging a fee for patrons who are not city residents, as that defeats the purpose of a free public library for all. Though, given that the city has had little problem in passing a functional budget the last two years I really doubt that this will happen. Thanks to companies like Google, MV is doing well by Californian and national standards.

However, it is sad to see that we are having to let things like public library services and affordable higher education float away like this. I hope that California is able to pass a sensible budget with the tax extensions Californians NEEDS to stay afloat as a desirable place to live. Though, with Prop 13 it is just not possible for us (California) to be the very best we can be.

Well, anyway, if you are not a Los Altos resident then support MV public library! It's a really great place and we are lucky to have it in the community.


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Posted by s h owens
a resident of another community
on Jun 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Santa Clara County Public Library system's EXPENDITURES (inclucing hidden expenses) over the years needs to be scrutinized. How have their top brass and staff been PAYING THEMSELVES (paycuts! like everyone else in the county since 2008's enonomic crisis)? What PERKS have they been bestowing on themselves (transportation "expenses", personal expenses camouflaged as "libary business")?
And, from now on, we who do not reside in their "service area" will need to protest any and all increases to their fnding proposals! Furthermore, the COUNTY and the STATE must begin further cuts to Santa Clara County Public Library's budget because that $80/year fee we have to pay is TAX (yes, TAX)!! So it would be unacceptable for COUNTY or State to approve their same old budget from now on.


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Posted by jupiterk
a resident of Gemello
on Jun 20, 2011 at 3:49 pm

with the way gas prices are, I don't know why would anyone from MV use Los Altos system? I really doubt LV residents pay any kind of tax. The rich don't pay any taxes. Only the poor and middle class do and that tax money helps to take care of the rich.


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Posted by Look at a map
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jun 20, 2011 at 4:03 pm

@jupiterk look at a map, for quite a few Mountain View residents the closest library is actually in Los Altos. Also, a lot of Mountain View residents patronize the Los Altos libraries because it's closer and better aligned to the schools their kids attend (over 1,000 kids attend elementary schools in the Los Altos School District, both Los Altos and Mountain View High Schools are closer to Los Altos libraries than our Mountain View library....).


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Posted by Jean Mordo
a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Some of thev readers did not get the story right! The decision to charge $80 to our neighbors in MV and PA is not a Los Altos decision. It is the County Library Board's decision. Los Altos and Los Altos Hills are leading the effort to rescind this measure and are looking at the option of seceding from the County Library and going it alone, like MV and PA. This way we would control our own destiny and not charge our neighbors- or anyone- for the use of our library.


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Posted by Too late....and off your books
a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2011 at 9:42 am

@Jean Mordo. This ship has sailed already. We received the notifications from the County Library District and most non-residents will be off your books comes July (pun intended). No matter what LA and LAH decide to do, the community will have changed (and not for the better).


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