Friends of Truckee Library asking town to assume operations at local branch | SierraSun.com

Friends of Truckee Library asking town to assume operations at local branch

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun
Sun file photoRows of books at the Truckee Library in this file photo.
ALL |

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; As the future of public libraries becomes increasingly murky due to the trickle-down effect of possible statewide budget cuts, the Friends of the Truckee Library will ask town council this week to consider assuming operational control of the Nevada County-controlled Truckee branch.

and#8220;Truckee is a library town that has outgrown its library,and#8221; said Ruth Hall, FOTL chair. and#8220;Friends of the Library believes that the best prospect for Truckee to have a library that meets the needs and size of our population is for the Truckee Library to become a municipal library.and#8221;

Hall said the movement for Truckee to have a municipal library is nothing new and actually started in 1960, when locals first thought up the idea.

There are three reasons the issue is being pushed now, Hall said. First, the library needs to be expanded to accommodate its high demand; second, due to a concern for the county’s attempt to outsource library operations last year after a drop in sales tax revenue; third, having a municipal library would keep local taxes for local use.

and#8220;When the county proposed outsourcing library operations … we realized our vision for a new library needed to include control of library operations to ensure that decision-making for local library services is made in the best interest of our community,and#8221; Hall said.

At Thursday’s town council meeting, Hall’s group will present findings from Municipal Resource Group LLC, a consulting firm based in Danville, Calif., which evaluated the legal, organizational and financial potential of a municipal library.

and#8220;We believe that the community will be excited to hear that the report points to the real possibility of moving to a locally operated model for our beloved library,and#8221; Hall said in a letter to council.

However, the concept may still be a hard sell to the town.

Town staff said there still are many significant issues to resolve, the largest being the Municipal Resource Group report shows that current county operations are still the most cost-efficient.

and#8220;At its most optimistic, the MRG report reflects that it will cost $121,000 (27 percent) more for the town to operate the library than it currently costs the county to provide roughly equivalent services,and#8221; officials said in a staff report.

This increase is a best-case scenario, staff said, and costs could easily rise $200,000 extra each year if market rents are built into the equation.

The report did find there is potential to cover costs if the county decided to pass at least 26 percent of its special library sales tax to the town; however, this would be at the county’s discretion, town staff said.

However, after reviewing other factors such as maintenance issues and continued library sales tax issues, staff will recommend council members not approve the creation of a municipal library in Truckee.

and#8220;Although the decision rests with the council, staff’s perspective is that now is not the right economic time to start down this path,and#8221; staff said.