FAQs about the New Library

A 21st Century Library Provides Services To Help A Community Thrive

A single library welcomes and serves our entire community, from babies to seniors, from business folks to veterans to families. It is a community asset and one of the most important of American institutions.

It is a place for learning − from toddler story times, to Medicare navigation for seniors, to computer classes, to teen poetry slams, to knitting groups. 

Librarians are information professionals. They help people navigate the mountains of data that can bury the unwary. They are not trying to sell patrons anything.

Why does Pacifica need a single library?
While the city of Pacifica owns the library buildings, all library services are funded by the San Mateo County Library System (SMCL). Pacifica is the only city in the SMCL with two libraries and so must split its 60 weekly hours of operation between the two buildings. Each library is open only 4 days a week and because the hours overlap on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Pacificans have access to a library for only 47 hours a week.

Both buildings are small (a total of approximately 11,000 square feet for a population close to 40,000 people) and so do not have enough space for the collections, services and programs that are standard in a modern library.

What are the benefits of a single, modern library?
A single, modern library will:

  • be open 7 days a week for longer hours
  • have a dedicated room for children
  • have a separate space for teens
  • provide a homework center to help ensure success in school
  • have quiet, comfortable areas for reading and working
  • offer free WiFi and ample access to computers, printers, laptops and e-readers
  • provide small and large meeting rooms for community use
  • have room for popular programs like Whale Town: Why the Humpbacks Come to Pacifica
  • have space for expanded collections of books, magazines, cds and dvds
  • be an energy efficient, environmentally friendly, fully-accessible building

How will the people who cannot walk to the library get library services?
The SamTrans Redi-Wheels bus is available to pick up people at their homes and take them to the library. The city will work to expand the senior shuttle service to include trips to the new library. In addition, the library will continue to offer mobile outreach services such as pop-up libraries, and to deliver library materials to homebound Pacificans. The bookmobile may also be able to make stops at different places throughout town.

The bottom line is, that due to our geography and the fact that we do not have neighborhood libraries, most people in Pacifica are not within walking distance of the library. Many of the folks that currently use the Sanchez library do not walk there.

Where will the money come from to pay for the library?
Measure N, on the November 2016 ballot, is a bond measure that will pay for the library.

For a Pacifica homeowner, the yearly cost of Measure N will be $17.84 per hundred thousand dollars of the assessed value of the property. The assessed value is not the property’s market value.
Some examples of the monthly cost to a Pacifica homeowner are:

  • for a $100,000 assessment, $1.49 a month
  • for a $400,000 assessment, $5.95 a month (which is the Pacifica average)
  • for a $1,000,000 assessment, $14.87 a month

Will there be public oversight of how the bond money will be spent?
Measure N requires the city to have a bond oversight committee to review the expenditures of the bond funds. It will be made up of local citizens. Their job will be to make sure that the bond proceeds are used appropriately. This is the same process that was used by the Pacifica School District when they modernized the schools.

Why is Palmetto at Montecito Ave the new location of the library?
The property is centrally located, and so serves the entire community.

It is city-owned and shovel-ready, which reduces the cost of the project.

The site is large enough to accommodate the library and will bring increased foot traffic to Palmetto Avenue as Palmetto grows into its role as Pacifica’s Main Street.

The California Coastal Commission (CCC) has jurisdiction over property west of Highway One. On November 20, 2015, Nancy Cave, a district manager of the CCC, wrote a letter to the city manager that stated, “… I write today to express our support for inclusion of a public library as part of the Beach Boulevard Redevelopment Project.”

Will the library be affected by storm surges or sea level rise?
Two different engineering firms carefully examined the site where the library will be located. Both studies, the 2013 EIR and June 2016 Coastal Hazard Study concluded that the likelihood of flooding would be very remote.

The sea wall south of the pier provides protection for the library site, as well as for the homes and businesses on Beach Boulevard and Palmetto Avenue.

With the effects of climate change beginning to impact the entire Bay Area, new models are continually emerging that influence building design. The library’s architects and engineers will include these latest techniques to protect this civic asset from the influences of our marine environment.