Supervisors vote to hold off on Loomis, Meadow Vista library closures

Published on December 09, 2015

Libraries in Meadow Vista and Loomis may remain open until June after the board of supervisors today voted to consider a budget revision at its Jan. 5, 2016 meeting. The revision, if approved, would provide funding for six months to give library supporters time to formulate a plan for continued operation of the branches.

Library administration recommended closing the two branches and redistributing the resources to libraries with greater use in order to maintain the viability of the entire Placer County Library system. However, the board, after hearing from Loomis town leaders and supporters of both branches, voted to delay any decisions on closure.

Should the board approve additional library funding in January, library supporters will have six months to develop a long-term plan for keeping the branches open. Loomis is considering a ballot measure to fund future library operations.

District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes, in whose district the Loomis library is located, recommend that the board keep the library open through June to see if a ballot measure is passed.

“I would like to see us give the Friends of the Library and the Town of Loomis the chance to work together and see what they can accomplish through a ballot measure,” Holmes said.

District 1 Supervisor Jack Duran, who seconded the motion to consider additional funding in January, was hesitant to go beyond June.

“I don’t want to be locked into anything,” Duran said, “other than funding it until June and seeing what happens. As far as I’m concerned, if they’re not ready to take it over then, we’re done.”

The Meadow Vista and Loomis branches have some of the lowest circulation rates of the county’s 11-branch district. Budget shortfalls for the past eight years have forced the library to dip into reserves to maintain services throughout the county. The use of reserves to cover operational costs has caused the entire system to fall behind in its ability to improve library infrastructure and facilities, offer customers desirable materials in various formats, provide adequately trained staff and offer convenient branch hours. The flat budgeting has also hindered the library’s ability to add new technologies such as e-resources and increased broadband Internet.

Two years ago, the supervisors gave direction to library administration to develop a plan to provide sustainable libraries. Since then, the county has engaged the public on the issue and given concerned citizens the opportunity to discuss at numerous forums, public meetings and presentations. In addition, the supervisors delayed making a decision for six months, giving closure opponents additional time to develop alternate plans.