Call for Help: Urge City Council on 6/15

El Cerrito Library Supporters,

Once again we are asking library supporters to stand up for El Cerrito’s most vulnerable and underserved persons. Library hours are a huge equity issue.

Our City Council needs to consider our City’s values when looking at what to cut and what to keep in next year’s budget. One of our City’s core values is equity. From an equity standpoint we believe there is nothing else in the budget that provides more equity than library hours. This is true both because of access to materials, to Internet services, and to valuable programs for lower income families.

Unfortunately, at their June 1 meeting, the Council decided to not support increased library hours with City funding. In the interest of equity, this decision should be reversed. Nobody in the library community or general public had any idea that a proposal to reduce library hours was to be made at the June 1 meeting.

We urge all El Cerrito Library supporters and all who support equity in library access to contact City Council members before their June 15 meeting to urge the Council to restore library hours to 46 hours per week as they finalize their budget for the year starting July 1!

The Council needs to consider our City’s values when looking at what to cut and what to keep in next year’s budget. One of our City’s core values is equity. From an equity standpoint we believe there is nothing else in the budget totaling $58,000 that is more impactful on equity than library hours.

If you agree with this, send an email to the El Cerrito City Clerk at cityclerk@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us. Make the subject line of your email “Public Comments – Proposed 2021-2022 Budget.” Simply say: “Fund library hours at 46 hours per week for 2021-2022.” Anything else you want to add is good. The number of comments is more effective than the wording. Comments are due by noon on June 15.

Alternatively, IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, show up (virtually via Zoom) at the Council meeting on June 15 at 7 pm. The budget is likely to be the only substantive item on the agenda so most likely the wait won’t be too long. You normally have three minutes to speak. If there are a lot of people who want to speak you may be limited to either two minutes or one minute. Simply say, “I’m (your name), I live in El Cerrito and I support funding of 46 library hours per week.” Again it’s the number of people who expend the energy to appear and speak that matters much more than the words spoken.

How to access the virtual meeting:
1) On June 15 at 7 pm, use the Zoom link that the City will provide for the meeting.
2) When the statement is made to indicate if you want to speak on the budget item, either click on
the “Raise Hand” icon in your Zoom app or press *9 (that’s the * key and the number 9 key) if using a phone.
3) You will be called on by the city clerk when it’s your turn to speak.
4) When it’s your turn click on the “Unmute” button if using a computer (it will appear after the
clerk calls on you) or press *6 (that’s the * key and the number 6 key) if using a phone. Then, make your statement along the lines below.

“We urge you to restore funding to keep our library open for 46 hours per week. The cost of this item is very small and what it represents in value to all of us, and especially to our most vulnerable and underserved, is huge.”

Thank you for speaking out for our library.

ECLF Board Members

A new library as part of the BART TOD

Do you know that BART, with the approval of the City of El Cerrito, has included an option for a new El Cerrito library (that El Cerrito would have to pay for) in its Request For Qualifications sent to developers?

Some general information on BART’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) plans were presented to the El Cerrito City Council at their May 4th City Council meeting.

The City of El Cerrito Community Development Department’s information on the El Cerrito Plaza station TOD project is at http://el-cerrito.org/1381/Transit-Oriented-Development-TOD.

BART’s information on this TOD project is at https://www.bart.gov/about/business/tod/el-cerrito-plaza.

The next step in this project will occur on Tuesday, May 25 at 6:00 pm when the City of El Cerrito and BART will be co-hosting a virtual Community Meeting, along with the developer team selected for El Cerrito Plaza station TOD, to inform, and receive input from, the community.

Construction of this multi-year project is not likely to start before 2025. However, now is the time to become part of this process to insure your ideas and opinions are heard and influence the many decisions to be made.

El Cerrito library users and residents are encouraged to become part of the ongoing discussions of this possibility.