Auburn, Calif. – The Placer County Board of Supervisors this past week approved the closure of the Loomis and Meadow Vista libraries, continuing the county’s plan to provide more modern and sustainable library services throughout the library system.
Two years ago, the supervisors gave direction to the Placer County library administration to develop a plan to provide sustainable libraries. Since then, county staff has engaged the public on the issue and given concerned citizens the opportunity to help find alternatives to the closures.
As recommended by the library administration in its library strategic plan, closing the two branches and redistributing resources and staff to other branches in the county with greater use will help to modernize and maintain the viability of the entire Placer County Library system.
The Loomis library is scheduled to close on July 30, and Meadow Vista on Sept. 3, remaining open through the completion of the summer reading program, Placer County Library’s most popular program.
County staff are currently in talks with the Town of Loomis to lease the Loomis library building to function as a community learning center or possible municipal library.
“I am excited at the potential for the beautiful Loomis library building to continue its use as a critical community amenity,” said District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes. “The lease agreement between the county and Town of Loomis will ensure the building will continue to be an important asset to the people of Loomis.”
Library staff are currently in discussions to determine the best alternative service delivery models for the Meadow Vista community, including increased use of the Placer County bookmobile and book drops, as well as potential mobile library services at the local community center.
“While I know there are people disappointed at the closure of the bricks and mortar library, we can very confidently let people know they will continue to have library service in Meadow Vista, it’s just going to be a different model,” said District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery. “This model will continue to let us have a more sustainable library system that will serve the entirety of people in Placer County.”
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.
“While I would have preferred that we could have found a way to prevent the closures,” said Montgomery, “we are still an incredibly library rich environment, with six libraries still serving eastern county communities, and the goal of all this is to get us to a sustainable, modern library system. This action, as painful as it is, will allow us to do that.”