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OPINION: Future Library Community Center Group invites feedback

The group is working toward buildng a new library. Meetings will be held monthly and everyone is welcome to attend

Most of us living in San Benito County feel the effects of the increasing population and see many areas of the county services that are working hard to fulfill the needs of a growing population.

A group of citizens interested in having a new, larger, and better equipped library have been meeting to discuss how to make that new library a reality. The group is led by Susan Logue, and are referred to as the Future Library Community Cultural Center group. The group began the first of their past three meetings by discussing the needs of our community library.

We have a wonderful library with books, media, online courses, children's programs, literacy programs, passport services and so much more, but the library is just too small to serve this area. With the boom in the population and so many additional new homes being built, a new, larger library is required to serve our existing residents, as well as those now moving into the county. The members represent different parts of the county and have varying visions for our new library. What everyone seems to want in our new library is a facility large enough for the community to come together for events, media and book learning, and library programs. The new library should have enough room to meet the needs of our adults, teens, children, and seniors living in San Benito County. They see a facility with multi-ethnic uses and a display area to represent all of San Benito County.

Residents should not need to leave the county for these services.

Logue attended the Intergovernmental Meeting on Aug. 3 to ask for direction from the committee regarding funding, bond limits, and to receive support from the city, county, and our community leaders to progress and maintain interest in this endeavor. The Intergovernmental Committee will be establishing a TEL/library Task Force and we hope to be invited to participate in those meetings.

Meanwhile, we are continuing with our monthly meetings and our next one is on Aug. 19, 10 a.m. to noon in the Barbara Room at the library. We will be having a presentation by a local citizen, well versed in the library's history, present status, and future options will be discussed. All are welcome to attend.

Contact Susan Logue, or 831-524-2638 for more information.




A library to me was a place of quiet solitude, massive in size, with a slightly musty aroma of old books waiting to be discovered. I fondly remember both the San Diego and the Santa Barbara public libraries as homes away from homes. The librarians were founts of knowledge with their PhDs in Library Science. Those were libraries! But alas, they have become passe.

In the article above, between the constant grammatical errors of the author, I get the mental picture of a rec center where you can drop off your ill-behaved children and your senile parents while you slurp your favorite beverage in the basement coffee shop and hum Kumbaya.  In fact, the new "library" appears to be a replacement for the Community Center over on West Street. The need for a library is gone. E-readers are highly used now and will dominate by the time this edifice is erected. The web has become the instant reference source. Khan Academy and similar sites now teach everything online and for free. So what is the purpose of a multimillion dollar second Community Center? Let's spend this money on citywide WiFi and get fiber optics cable to the rest of the county for better internet service.

--William McCarey

Bill, you could not be more wrong.  Some of the best educated (and wealthiest) populations in the state have the MOST visits per capita to the libraries even though they also have the most access to technology.  Twenty-seven libraries serving populations like ours (27,000 to 97,000) had more than 5.0 visits per capita in 2015-2016, the population weighted average was 8.1 visits, the San Benito County Free Public Library had less than 1.7 visits.  Top performers in that population group included Newport Beach, Palo Alto, Monterey, Menlo Park and Los Gatos.  Municipal libraries performed much better than county libraries (population density). 

Our primary education problem is English literacy, libraries and their programs can make a real dent in that area.  I'm no technophobe, but I have a large personal library because books present information in ways an E-reader cannot.

The libraries need to be attractive because they are in competition with other forms of "entertainment" that are not as intellectually valuable and they have to be able to attract and hold the interest of their customers.  Remember when "cable in the classroom" was going to solve our education problems?  Well, it didn't work anymore than computers have - the old tried and true methods have a lot of advantages, besides many of those who need the most help cannot rely on their families for the help and access they need.

Don't be seduced by technology, it can do a lot, but it is not that good at educating on a wide-interest basis, if it were we would not have so many folks who are functionally illiterate.

Marty Richman

Marty, I expressed my opinion. You expressed yours. I noticed that you did not quote how many times you use this public library. My usage is zero. Like you, I have a library in my home. It is occasionally easier to use than the internet.  I own two Kindles and four computers. I have WiFi and a personal network. But I do not depend on public dole to keep  them operating.

I do not want to fund "education" at a library. . The school districts are sucking enough out of me for that. Schools have trained personnel, our library does not. Few legal residents of San Benito County are illiterate. The library is useful only for those citizens in the boondocks who cannot get books by internet or for those technophobes who refuse to use a computer. For them, I will vote to fund a Bookmobile or two.

BTW, we had cable in a classroom when I went to college. I still remember the trumpet solo that opened the lecture. I remember little else about that class.

--William McCarey

Bill, as you pointed out I do not use the library - but I have one at home, I already have the language skills and I have all the technology I need.  Many of those who need library services most don't have libraries at home and their exposure to the English language is below par even in households that do speak the language.

"Few legal residents of San Benito County are illiterate" - I disagree, unfortunately a large portion of the poor population is functionally illiterate no matter what their immigration status.  Those who posses “no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills” are functionally illiterate.

The problem among illegal immigrants is typically worse, but you can't throw the baby out with the bath-water.

Marty Richman

Fortunately, the modern library is evolving into a multimedia reference and learning center rather than the stodgy and staid retrospective of a musty and quiet place remembered by some senior citizens in our county.

The author of this story is a well-educated school teacher who, in fact, did not make any grammatical mistakes writing this story. I checked it twice on my own and then again with an online grammar checker. In my personal experience, writing for BenitoLink can be tricky because, in this case, the author chose to write the story in the third-person rather than the first-person narrative. 

I agree that San Benito County needs a new, vibrant and modern library where community members, both young and old, can seek information, learn new skills, socialize and take classes in a variety of subjects; from vocational to avocational in nature.

Here is an English lesson for Mr Smith who doesn't even have to go to the library to get it. I am sorry he identified the author as it was better if she remained anonymous. Here is a sample of grammatical errors that Mr Smith and Ms Logue could not recognize.

"A group of citizens interested in having a new, larger, and better equipped library have been meeting to discuss how to make that new library a reality. The group is led by Susan Logue, and are referred to as the Future Library Community Cultural Center group. The group began the first of their past three meetings by discussing the needs of our community library."

The first sentence has the subject "a group." The word group is singular. The predicate must be singular also. It is not. The author confused herself by the long prepositional phrase that has a plural object ("citizens"). The second sentence begins correctly "the group is led." After the conjunction "and" the author returns to the plural predicate for no known reason. It is still "the group," singular, she is referencing. The word "group" at the end of the sentence is redundant phrasing as that is what the whole sentence was describing. Like saying "A cow was a brown cow." The third sentence once again has a singular subject "group," but the plural possessive pronoun "their" is used in the descriptive prepositional phrase. It should have said "its."

Now I could dissect the rest of the article in toto, but my point has been made. All English teachers are welcome to chime in. Maybe I am wrong and the whole world of grammar has been dumbed down since I was in school. I do not speak Ebonics.

--William McCarey

Oh, stop it, none of that has anything to do with the subject.  An online comment is anything but a formal paper - singulars and plurals are the reasons editors exist (not to mention typos, my personal problem), those kinds of things are certainly not any indication of functional illiteracy.

Let's just thank God for spellcheckers and get back to the central issue.

Marty Richman


Wayne Norton ·  Works at Advocacy, Inc.  "I would encourage library supporters to consider the needs of the entire county."

Mr. Norton, that is one of the difficulties here because of the physical layout and population distribution.  SJB has a library of its own, Aromas has access to a local library and both have easy access to the Gilroy library.  Additionally, I believe that the residents outside of Hollister would tend to vote no on any proposed bond issue for various reasons.  The core need is in Hollister, so we have to work out an operating-funding deal to make anything happen.

Marty Richman

Marty, if it is going to be a library that is only used by citizens of Hollister maybe we should reconsider how it is supported. Maybe there should be consideration of how the county library is going to serve the entire county.

Yep.  We have a unique situation, one city with over 62 percent of the county population and if you include the close-in areas such as North County, Ridgermark, and soon to be filled developments on Fairview etc., it's a heck of a lot more than that.

There are 69 (of 184) library systems in CA that have service populations between 20,000 and 100,000 and are not super rich such as Beverly Hills, this includes SBC.  14 of these are county libraries, 46 municipal, and 9 are special districts.  Under the current rules you need 66.66% of the vote to get a bond, that means 2 yes votes for every no vote.  Can you really afford to ask SJB residents who already have a municipal library to vote a tax for one that is in Hollister?

Hey, I'm open to any idea that works.

Marty Richman

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