Library Information


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Library Expansion:
June 30, 2012


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Contents

1. What is the Belvedere-Tiburon Library Agency and what are the responsibilities of the Agency? How does the Agency differ from the Belvedere-Tiburon Library Foundation?

2. Why is the Library expanding?

3. Since the new library isn't projected to serve any more people than the current library (our stable population of about 14,000), why is more space needed?

4. What is the goal of the expansion?

5. Where will the expansion be located?

6. Was a second level considered for the current Library?

7. Is the Library expansion compatible with the current building and will it also fit the character of the area architecturally?

8. Can present services be made more efficient by a modest remodel that would retain the present scale, open space and parking arrangement?

9. Would building behind the current library be easier to build, less expensive and less disruptive to library function?

10. Why not build a separate new children and teen library building behind the Library?

11. Would it be better to separate the children's noise from the rest of the library?

12. When will the Library expansion be built?

13. How long will the building process take? Will it be disruptive to residents and businesses in the area?

14. How will the traffic flow around the expanded Library be managed?

15. Were public meetings held before any architectural drawings were commissioned to see what the community wanted and would support in the way of a new library?

16. Will the expansion necessitate an increase in local taxes?

17. Since planning for this addition started before the current recession, have any adjustments been made in light of current economic conditions?

18. Of the funds donated for the new expansion, how much has been spent on plans, consultants, story poles, etc.?

19. Presuming that the Library budget will be about the same since our population isn't projected to change much, how will the added costs to support a larger building be financed?

20. In keeping with the goal of LEED certification, will solar panels be considered?

21. What will happen to Zelinsky Park?

22. Will dedicated marsh land/open space be converted to a parking lot?

23. Is it possible to save the view from Tiburon Boulevard of Old St. Hilary's landmark and the adjacent open space above and around it?

24. How will the fundraising for the Library impact other prospective projects such as a new hospital, saving part or all of the Martha property, and a recreation center?

25. What will happen to the beloved heron courtyard?

26. Are you confident that the specific needs identified by the Building Program (Space Needs Assessment Phase 2, updated September 2011) are what the community needs?

27. Why do you need more space for children and teens? Aren’t school facilities adequate?

28. With advances in technology and the advent of ebooks, is more shelving space for books and other Library materials needed?

29. Why is a Technology Center included in the expansion?

30. The proposed library will be 26,500 square feet vs. the 10,500 we currently have. How many additional staff members will be necessary to run this space?

31. Is the goal of the Library to serve the needs of local residents and residents of other communities?

32. How many books and other materials available at the Belvedere-Tiburon Library are being checked out by local residents?

33. How does the fact that most people have their own computer impact the Library’s space needs?

34. Does program and meeting space need to be expanded? Are there other venues in town that the Library could use?

35. Are there any records on how many people come to hear each speaker?

36. Will the café compete with local businesses?

37. Why not keep Corner Books at the Boardwalk, where it's been very successful, and have a coffee cart available in the library to eliminate the need for a bookstore and coffee shop?

38. The Ark article of March 21, 2012 states that the "workshop" of March 21 would be "low key" and that "no formal action will be taken." Why was a vote taken to send it to Design Review?

39. To whom should I talk if I have more questions?

Questions and Answers

1. What is the Belvedere-Tiburon Library Agency and what are the responsibilities of the Agency? How does the Agency differ from the Belvedere-Tiburon Library Foundation?

The Belvedere-Tiburon Library Agency (BTLA) was formed in July 1995 as the legal governing body of the independent community library. Its seven person board has three Trustees appointed by the City of Belvedere, three appointed by the Town of Tiburon, and one by the Reed Union School District. The BTLA is charged with all the responsibilities of any public agency - personnel, collection of tax moneys, budget development, operation and expenditure of money for the Library's development, operation and maintenance.

The Belvedere-Tiburon Library Foundation supports the Belvedere-Tiburon Library through fundraising projects, private philanthropy and advocacy.

2. Why is the Library expanding?

The current Library was designed as an annex to the County Library system. It does not provide adequate space to accommodate the demands of the more than 4,000 people using the facility each week.

The constraints of the current Library include a lack of quiet work areas, limited space for programs and technology training, an undersized children’s room, a lack of space for teens to study together and for resources relevant to that age group, and inadequate space for collections, office, and work areas.

3. Since the new library isn't projected to serve any more people than the current library (our stable population of about 14,000), why is more space needed?

The Library is too small for present use by the community. The current Library was designed to be a branch of the Marin County Library system and the building size and configuration reflect its original intended role and purpose where most administrative and selection, acquisitions, and cataloging work would be done offsite. The current Library has been successful beyond original expectations. It is an incredibly well used and needed resource.

Libraries attract more visits from a given number of folks because they offer more cultural and intellectual services than in the past. It is reasonable to believe that Belvedere and Tiburon residents will continue to come to the Library and attend programs and events more often. Also, there is a need for a larger meeting room for both Library and other organizations’ meetings in town.

4. What is the goal of the expansion?

The expansion is designed to maintain the look and feel the community loves, while creating new spaces that will allow the community to fully benefit from the mission of their library: to encourage and support a literate, enlightened and cultured community by providing free and equal access to knowledge, information, ideas, and entertainment, in a setting conducive to learning.

The expanded Belvedere-Tiburon Library will be a welcoming 21st century place for gathering, exploring ideas, having new experiences, and delving extensively into diverse interests, from technology to literature and art, from travel to college selection, and more.

5. Where will the expansion be located?

The Environmental Impact Studies required by the town found the library expansion in the current plans, to the side of the building on the current parking lot, to be the environmentally superior site. The EIR finding supports the recommendation of the Belvedere-Tiburon Library Agency (BTLA) that was made after more than three years of public meetings.

The primary reasons for the BTLA’s recommendation are as follows:

  • A single, integrated building can be created by building over the parking lot. In addition to being more practical for Library users and staff, an integrated building will also be more attractive architecturally and more energy efficient resulting in lower maintenance and operating costs. A new building behind the existing Library would have to “bridge” a high-pressure sewer line, creating two distinct buildings.
  • The Tiburon General Plan favors buildings to front on Tiburon Boulevard and parking to be placed at the rear of the buildings.
  • Building over the existing parking lot allows for the creation of a pedestrian-only public plaza connecting the entries to the Library and Town Hall with enhanced access to the views of open space and the ridge.

6. Was a second level considered for the current Library?

Structural engineers were asked to evaluate the feasibility of building a second floor when the search for additional space began in 1999. They found that the foundation and structure of the building were not adequate to support a second floor. Based on this finding, the BTLA submitted a letter to the Town of Tiburon in 2001 requesting that land be reserved for a potential library expansion.

7. Is the Library expansion compatible with the current building and will it also fit the character of the area architecturally?

The expansion will be 16,000 square feet on two stories. The footprint will be 10,000 sq ft. The architectural style of the expansion will be compatible with the existing building. Exterior materials will be similar to the existing building. The roof of the existing building will be re-roofed with the same material as the expansion building. Prominent interior spaces such as the central hall will be extended and the architectural character of the interiors between the two buildings will be compatible.

8. Can present services be made more efficient by a modest remodel that would retain the present scale, open space and parking arrangement?

This issue has been studied, discussed and analyzed for several years. The Library is too small to meet current needs and suffers from serious and pervasive overcrowding in every aspect of its operations. The needs assessment and building program were developed after studying library operations, patron usage, holding community focus groups and presentations, and future and current library services models. The Library is building for the future, not just to resolve current difficulties.

9. Would building behind the current library be easier to build, less expensive and less disruptive to library function?

The behind-the-library alternative was studied in the Environmental Impact Report and discussed in several meetings, including those at the Tiburon Town Council and the Planning Commission. The location is not consistent with the Tiburon General Plan, requires building 1,700 square feet of removable and otherwise unusable space over the high pressure sewer line, may have fewer parking spaces, leaves the current trees blocking the best views of the ridge, and has more impact on the marsh.

Excerpted from: Land Use Policies for The Down Town Element of the General Plan

DT-27: Tiburon Boulevard The visual presence and location of on-site parking spaces are to be made secondary to building storefronts, entrances, and street orientation. Locating parking behind buildings will be required wherever possible.

DT-33: New parking facilities in Downtown Tiburon shall be located behind buildings and adequately landscaped in order to reduce their visual impact, primarily from Tiburon Boulevard. Structure parking should be low-key and not prominently visible.

DT-35: Support an appropriate expansion of the Belvedere-Tiburon Public Library adjacent to Zelinsky Park .

DT-u: Facilitate expansion of the Belvedere-Tiburon Public Library by employing streamlined permit review processes typically used for major public projects .

The Zoning Code states that any application which does not conform to the General Plan shall not be considered.

Read the Building Committee Recommendation on Location of Expansion, from June 13, 2008, here.

10. Why not build a separate new children and teen library building behind the Library?

It is important to Library services that families not be separated with children in one building and parents in another. In addition, the Library-in-back design would require more staffing, security, separate utility lines and HVAC systems, and a removable bridge as mentioned above. The Environmental Impact Report found that a building in the back was the least preferred building alternative and would have the most impact on the marsh.

11. Would it be better to separate the children's noise from the rest of the library?

The noise problem is not just caused by children, but by the fact that the nave design amplifies the noises of normal library activity. A nave design, as in a church, is planned to allow sound to carry. The noisier uses in the building expansion will be isolated by the materials used and design of space.

12. When will the Library expansion be built?

The projected timeline is to break ground in two to five years. The Library is in the design review phase of the project. The design review meetings before the Tiburon Town Council will look at the full architectural plans of the project and consider any unaddressed issues that call for changes.

13. How long will the library be closed during the proposed construction? Is there a back-up plan to phase in construction?

It is anticipated the construction phase will not begin for at least two years and is expected to take one and one half years to complete the expansion. The intention is that the Library will remain open during construction and there is a plan to phase in construction to make that possible. A detailed, and more precise, timeline will be completed during the planning phase.

The Library expansion project will adhere to all of the Town of Tiburon's law, ordinances and policies that regulate all commercial, governmental and private construction projects.

14. How will the traffic flow around the expanded Library be managed?

Included in the Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report for the expansion is an environmental impact analysis and transportation traffic study. It is located on pages 49 through 60. A copy of this report is available in the Library. A link is located on the library’s website, and at Tiburon Town Hall. To locate the document on the library’s website, go to http://thelibrary.info, click on expansion links on the home page.

15. Were public meetings held before any architectural drawings were commissioned to see what the community wanted and would support in the way of a new library?

At least seven public meetings were held during the course of three years. There were focus groups, surveys, and invitations to patrons and community members to attend meetings. These meetings were published in The Ark, the Library’s newsletter that goes to every home in the 94920 zip code area, through an email blast, and to every person on the then 90-person Foundation Board. The Agency held advertised sessions at their monthly meetings. The architects, since their hiring, have given presentations at 12 public meetings and at Library Foundation meetings. The early public meetings in 2008 were to discuss conceptual designs for the expansion of the Library where public input was actively sought.

16. Will the expansion necessitate an increase in local taxes?

Members of Library Foundation and other library volunteers plan to fund the building expansion through a major capital campaign. The current tax revenue sources will remain unchanged and the Belvedere-Tiburon Library Foundation will continue to raise money to contribute to operation costs and enrich library services. The increase in maintenance costs will be relative to the energy efficiency of the building. The goal is to develop a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building that will take advantage of natural light.

17. Since planning for this addition started before the current recession, have any adjustments been made in light of current economic conditions?

Our community’s Library use has increased. Estimated construction costs for building have dropped during the economic downturn, making it a good time to do the project.

18. Of the funds donated for the new expansion, how much has been spent on plans, consultants, story poles, etc.?

The expansion plan has been in the works since 2004, with a major revision in 2006 and subsequent revisions in response to public input. Of course, each revision adds to the cost of the project. So far the project has cost $750,000, including approximately $450,000 surrounding the permitting and environmental review process. Every dollar spent on the planning, design, and permit process for the Library expansion has come from private gifts specifically donated for the purpose of project development. This includes expenditures for legal, environmental, architectural, public outreach, and project management services typically associated with a project of this size and level of public interest.

19. Presuming that the Library budget will be about the same since our population isn't projected to change much, how will the added costs to support a larger building be financed?

The new building will be very energy efficient and the plan is to be LEED certified. All building maintenance is now contracted out to a variety of businesses. The goal is to have a part-time building maintenance person on staff that will be more cost effective. Whatever the library budget, the Library Foundation will, as it has in the past and as other successful libraries do, continue to raise funds for programs, materials, and services.

20. In keeping with the goal of LEED certification, will solar panels be considered?

Solar panels will be incorporated if that is the most environmentally appropriate solution.

21. What will happen to Zelinsky Park?

Zelinsky Park will be reconfigured to be made slightly larger, and will remain a green oasis for Peninsula residents with better views of the open space and ridges. The land that has been reserved by the Town of Tiburon for Library use is adjacent to but is not part of Zelinsky Park. Any development in the area behind the Library will conform to environmental guidelines that will avoid impact on the Park and the marsh.

22. Will dedicated marsh land/open space be converted to a parking lot?

Dedicated marsh land will not be converted into a parking lot. The parking lot setback is what is required by the Marsh Management Plan that defined the setback some years ago. The surrounding land is not voter designated or taxpayer purchased open space, but an area that was formerly a drainage way for the railroad, and given to the Town by the developer. It became and will remain a natural habitat due to the considerable expense and upkeep dedicated to it by the Town.

23. Is it possible to save the view from Tiburon Boulevard of Old St. Hilary's landmark and the adjacent open space above and around it?

Not everyone agrees about the impact of the expansion on the view. The building has been cut back to 16,000 square feet following the Environmental Impact Report which designated an 18,000 square foot expansion. At the next Town Council meeting, detailed plans of the expansion will be presented. Story poles will go up according to Town guidelines so the relationship of the expansion to the view corridor will be evident to all.

24. How will the fundraising for the Library impact other prospective projects such as a new hospital, saving part or all of the Martha property, and a recreation center?

All projects have different funding sources, some with an overlap, but they are not pitted against one another. For example, the Recreation Center is funded by the Town's General Fund, the hospital by federal, state, and proposed county wide bond funding, open space by those who are most affected, the Library by funding sources that fund libraries and local donors who continue to support the Library generously.

25. What will happen to the beloved heron courtyard?

There will be better outdoor space further from Tiburon Boulevard, where it will be possible to sit and enjoy the views. The Library’s cherished heron sculpture will find a beautiful location there.

26. Are you confident that the specific needs identified by the Building Program(Space Needs Assessment Phase 2, updated September 2011) are what the community needs?

Taking into consideration current usage of the Library and feedback from the community, Library staff spent months working in conjunction with library planning consultant Kathryn Page. The Space Needs Assessment is supported by measurements, study, discussion, visits to other libraries, professional research, and standards and criteria provided by the American Library Association and the California State Library.

The Space Needs Assessment and Building Program provide a great opportunity to gain a detailed understanding of current and future community demand for services and efficient use of space.

A reference copy of the Spaces Summary, 2011 Program Update from September of 2011 is available at the Library. To access an online version, please go to: http://www.bel-tib-lib.org/info/docs/belvedere-tiburonBP032707.pdf.

27. Why is more space needed for children and teens? Aren’t school facilities adequate? Why can't services be shared at the prospective new recreation center?

The Library provides services and resources to children through their high school years that support and go beyond school curricula. The Library currently hosts large numbers of our youngsters after school, during the summer and at other times when schools are closed. The current space is inadequate for them and for adults.

The Children’s Room has only two study tables with four chairs to each table. According to the Tiburon Fire Department, the occupancy load for the Children’s Room is 22. The planned expansion creates new spaces for primary school students in an expanded Children’s Room.

When the current library was planned and built, there was not a designated space for teens. The only space currently set aside for teens is a small makeshift area at one end of the Library building. A new teen area, that will comprise only four percent of the new building, will provide quiet study rooms, a student study zone, and computers. The goal is to continue to provide relevant educational enrichment resources and programs, offered by all modern libraries, so that teens will continue to feel welcomed and engaged.

Currently planned areas for all age groups will allow everyone to use the Library comfortably without the irritations caused by excessive noise and overcrowding, and still have easy access to all the Library resources in one building. These plans are in keeping with our Mission Statement to provide services that support a literate, enlightened and cultured community and NOT to provide programs traditionally offered by community/recreation centers such as recreational activities and classes, music lessons, cooking classes, parties and other social and non-educational gatherings.

The new recreation center is being built to do two things:

1. Replace the space for after school and adults classes that can no longer be held at our community schools.

2. Move the recreational department offices from Town Hall to the new facility.

As noted above, the educational, cultural and literary programs offered by the library will not duplicate the services provided by the recreation department.

28. With advances in technology and the advent of ebooks, is more shelving space for books and other Library materials needed?

Access to electronic reading and listening material from the Library is greatly expanding as the vendors and publishers are adapting their materials for library use, but availability has not decreased the demand for other library material. Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 were the two busiest circulation years in the Library’s 15-year history.

People have been predicting the demise of the book with the arrival of every new information technology, from radio to television to the Internet. Books as we know them will continue to be in demand for the foreseeable future. Books, however, are only one service provided by our Library.

Our Library is a cultural center, a place for lifelong learning, and a source for shared resources in the community. Whatever the evolution of media, the Library will adapt and play a role in making information and technology accessible to the community and in teaching Peninsula residents how to successfully make use of those resources.

29. Why is a Technology Center included in the expansion?

More than 1,800 Peninsula residents have attended over 200 computer workshops since 2005. The Library is currently limited to offering once-weekly computer workshops that accommodate 12 people in a temporary computer lab set up in the Library’s Founders Room.

A new 18-workstation computer and technology training center will make it possible to offer many more workshops to many more Library patrons. With more capacity, the library will also be able to offer advanced workshops to meet the needs of our community.

More than 1,400 adults have taken advantage of the one-on-one Internet training for patrons our Library volunteers have offered since 1997. The training center will allow volunteers to continue offering these one-on-one sessions, but in a dedicated environment that is more conducive to learning and less disruptive to other patrons.

30. The proposed library will be 26,500 square feet vs. the 10,500 we currently have. How many additional staff members will be necessary to run this space?

Libraries have public service departments that are staffed. These departments will remain in the expanded Library. The only staffing increases that are anticipated are a technology and training manager, a part-time building maintenance person, and an increase in the Teen Librarian position from part-time to full-time.

31. Is the goal of the Library to serve the needs of local residents and residents of other communities?

The goal is to create a Library that will meet the needs of Belvedere and Tiburon residents of all ages for at least the next twenty years. Although people from other communities will continue to be welcome to use the Library, we do not plan any special outreach beyond Belvedere and Tiburon.

32. Are books and other materials available at the Belvedere-Tiburon Library being checked out by local residents?

Approximately 54% of our circulation is to residents of Belvedere and Tiburon. In comparison, 48% of Mill Valley Library circulation is to Mill Valley residents and 59% of San Rafael Library circulation is to San Rafael residents. Belvedere and Tiburon residents are themselves benefiting from the ability to borrow from other area libraries, an opportunity not available to our residents if our library materials were not available to others. For fiscal year 2010-2011, nearly 14,400 items were sent from other libraries to be picked up by Belvedere and Tiburon residents. This may increase in the future since Dominican University has joined the MARINet library consortium, making academic materials available.

33. How does the fact that most people have their own computer impact the Library’s space needs?

More than 34,000 sessions were logged in on the Library’s in-house computers in Fiscal Year 2010-2011. That’s 650 sessions a week, or 95 sessions for every day the Library was open. In addition, a significant number of people come in with their laptops to take advantage of our wireless network. Although the tools have changed, the need for the Library as a resource for lifelong learning is still the same.

34. Does program and meeting space need to be expanded? Are there other venues in town that the Library could use?

The focal objective of the Library expansion is to meet current and future need for a learning and cultural center for the residents of Belvedere and Tiburon. The Library’s programs take advantage of the resources available onsite as needed, without competing for limited offsite space not set up for Library programs and events.

Offsite programs require considerable extra time and effort on the part of staff, who have to leave the Library to set up and take down chairs, projection equipment, computer resources, etc., some of which they have to carry with them. Additionally, a careful analysis of the utilization in other community spaces shows that they are already well booked, especially on those days and times that work well for the community.

The Library is currently unable to meet the demand for its program space. The Library Agency, Foundation, Program Committee, Art Committee, Bookmarks, and Library staff have been presenting literary and cultural programs for years. Last year 811 programs and meetings were held in the Library.

Demand can be met by doubling the size of the Founders program room. The room would be big enough to be divided into two smaller rooms to hold after school programs for different age groups as well as other Library programs, and to accommodate other community needs.

35. Are there any records on how many people come to hear each speaker?

There are no records on the exact attendance at each program, but in 2011 the Library had 811 programs, in 2010 it had 809 programs. Programs can run to over 75 people. Attendance at teas runs between 150 and 200. Training classes allow up to 16 people. The current Founders community room capacity is designated at 43.

Some library programs attract a small audience, many attract enough people that the room capacity is exceeded and folks are standing in the entry. Youth story hours and programs often overflow the space. Some programs are not scheduled because of a predicted overflow draw.

36. Will the café compete with local businesses?

The planned Library coffee area will be an amenity for those using the Library rather than a destination like local cafés. It will be more like a coffee bar, with hot drinks and a limited selection of snacks. The goal is to contract out the operation of the coffee bar to a local business.

37. Why not keep Corner Books at the Boardwalk, where it's been very successful, and have a coffee cart available in the library to eliminate the need for a bookstore and coffee shop?

Donated books and other materials are sold at Corner Books and in the Library. Book income also comes from the carts in the Library, but the selling interrupts the Library staff work. The Boardwalk Corner Books location will not always be available. Consolidating the book selling space in the Library location that has the most foot traffic, with an all-volunteer staff, is a win-win situation. The Foundation now pays rent and other costs for the Boardwalk location. In the Library, those costs will become revenue.

38. The Ark article of March 21, 2012 states that the "workshop" of March 21 would be "low key" and that "no formal action will be taken." Why was a vote taken to send it to Design Review?

No formal action was taken. The Council gave feedback to the Library about whether it was on the right track to reduce the mass, bulk and view blockage of the addition.

The advisory vote was taken to resolve the confusion of the Library about what the next step was. Before the next meeting at which the Council will sit as a design review body, story poles will be put up and everyone will be onboard looking to see the project plan and its impacts before any formal decisions are made.

39. To whom should I talk if I have more questions?

Library Director Deborah Mazzolini is available in person, by telephone, or by email to address any of your concerns about the Library expansion project. Ms. Mazzolini may be reached at (415) 789-2656 or dmazzolini@bel-tib-lib.org.