Spearheaded by Boulder Creek resident Elinor Slayer, 500 fliers began circulating through the town this week, advertising the Santa Cruz Public Libraries Joint Powers Board meeting Monday, May 3, when discussion will likely continue about the 2010-11 budget.
“What I’m learning very quickly is … as soon as people stand up for libraries and say this is important, magical things happen,” Slayer said.
The group has dubbed itself Boulder Creek Save Our Libraries and aims to create a buzz while putting pressure on the library board to keep the Boulder Creek branch open.
The new group is separate from the Friends of the Library in Boulder Creek, but organizers have been in communication with that group, Slayer said.
County supervisor and library board member Mark Stone said he wants to keep the San Lorenzo Valley branches open, too, because of the communities they serve.
“If we start closing neighborhood libraries, we are breaking their trust,” Stone said.
Voters have passed two measures in the past 14 years aimed at keeping the county library system healthy. In 1996, voters supported Measure B, which included cash to preserve existing libraries and extend services to underserved parts of the county, such as Felton and Boulder Creek. Then, in 2008, Measure R extended a quarter-cent sales tax that accounts for 49 percent of the libraries’ operating budget.
However, revenue from sales taxes and property taxes has decreased in recent years, leaving libraries in a bind.
The library system has seen its budget shrink from $12.6 million to $11 million this year, and it is forecast to fall $1.4 million short next year.
“I think it would be a real shame to have libraries only in the city and leave large stretches of the unincorporated area of the county (without a library),” Stone said.
Stone noted, however, that the library budget for 2010-11 is being constructed to keep Felton and Boulder Creek open, albeit with severely limited hours.
Still, Felton Library Friends is working to keep that community’s branch open. And in Boulder Creek, the effort continues in full force.
“There has been an overwhelming positive response,” Slayer said. “Nobody wants the library closed.”
At a glance
• WHAT: Santa Cruz Public Libraries Joint Powers Board meeting
• WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 3,
• WHERE: Central Branch Library, 224 Church St., in Santa Cruz
• INFO: www.santacruzpl.org or 420-5600