FLF formed in 2005 to oppose closure of the Felton branch library, and our group has successfully fought off three closure attempts. At the same time we have worked to bring to Felton a larger, modern, library facility that can serve the San Lorenzo Valley for the next fifty years as a community hub and lifelong learning center.
Our efforts on behalf of a new facility have been two-pronged — the property and funding. We have worked with County and Library officials, as well as with members of the Verutti family, to render the property adjacent to the Felton post office “shovel ready” for construction. Plans for a 9300 square-foot facility, Planning Department approvals, and environmental reports, are all either completed or well-developed. FLF is confident that, when funding exists, construction of the Felton branch will be ready to start. In June of 2015, the County officially accepted the donation of the land and purchased the adjacent land to create a 2.03 acre parcel. The extra land presents exciting opportunities for outdoor activities for all ages.
Regarding funding, while fundraisers, bequests, donations, and grants have helped our effort tremendously over the years, construction of a facility that will cost more than nine million dollars will be possible only with public funding. All branches in the ten-branch Santa Cruz library system need facilities funding, whether for entirely new buildings, major upgrades, or relatively minor renovations, and for this reason the agencies that comprise our system (SC County, and the cities of Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, and Capitola) currently plan to ask County voters to approve a parcel tax to fund facilities work, probably in 2016 (previous plans were for a 2015 vote). Assuming that the tax measure adequately addresses SLV’s need for improved library services, FLF members expect to work on behalf of passage.
The Library system is currently engaged in discussions and negotiations regarding governance, finances, and allocation of resources. In addition, with the departure of the current Director this June, recruitment will commence for a new Library Director. FLF is committed to keeping SLV residents informed of all developments in the system that may affect library services to the Valley. In addition FLF intends to resume regular group meetings and activities later in 2015, especially if a ballot measure looks imminent.
Why Does Felton Need a New Branch Building
Felton is the gateway to the San Lorenzo Valley. The Felton branch serves a combined population of almost 15,000 residents. Our small building and limited collection are woefully inadequate for this many people.
About 2,500 K-12 students and a large home-school population use the Felton library. They deserve a more comprehensive collection as an educational resource.A growing senior population requires an accessible building with comfortable areas for reading and relaxing.Citizen groups in Felton are dedicated to a wide range of cultural interests and political issues. The resources of a healthy public library are needed to support these high levels of community activity. Both the library board and administration concur that the current branch is inadequate to meet the needs of library users in the 21st century.
How Will a New Building Come About?
The lot next to the Post Office was offered to the library system in 1999 by the Verutti family, SLV business owners and long-time community supporters.
The library board and administration are actively investigating various plans for a new library on the newly acquired parcel.We believe that increased community interest backing the renewed efforts and commitment of the library board and administration will make a new Felton branch building a reality.
What About the Cost of a New Library?
The amount of money needed will be beyond the level of community fundraising.
We are committed to working with the library administration and board on grant applications and major fundraising efforts to supplement any money available from the city and county.
What About the Current Building?
The Belardi Memorial Building has housed the branch library for fifty years, and this 1893 historic landmark is a beloved part of Felton life.
Problems such as the lack of parking, disabled access, homework areas, meeting rooms, and adequate shelving cannot be corrected in a building with historic landmark status restrictions. Expanding the building has been deemed unfeasible.
The building is not owned by the Library system but was bequeathed to the community of Felton. FLF is firmly committed to helping the Belardi Board find a suitable use for it, once the library moves out.
How Can I Help?
As of June of 2015, we’re looking for volunteers who may have time to help with the following:
- Explore grant opportunities for outdoor activities area.
- Help with new website and ongoing maintenance.
Your support and enthusiasm are vital. This is your opportunity to give back to the community and help create a rich environment for children, seniors, and everyone in between to share, learn and build community. JOIN US! Contact information is on our new website.
- Sign up for our email list on the Home page of this site.
- Visit our website and stay informed about our work.
- Email us with your questions or ideas you want to share.
- Make a donation to support our advocacy work. Send a check payable to Felton Library Friends to our P.O. Box below or use the Paypal and Credit Card info on the home page. Your contribution is fully tax-deductible.
Felton Library Friends
P.O. Box 1245, Felton CA 95018