Montclair Library Cleaning Out Mold

Plan ahead!  Our local library will be temporarily shuttered from March 23 through mid-May because it has gotten moldy and needs to be cleaned up.  This isn’t exactly convenient for Montclarions, who actually read books and use reference materials – it’s not a 100% web world yet.

Montclair Library

Yes, you will have to buck up while this spring cleaning takes place.   You’ll be able to return books at the outside book drop, period.  Otherwise, plan to visit nearby library branches to look things up, take out books or pick up previously-reserved items.

Between now and March 23rd, don’t hesitate to call the Montclair Library with any questions.  Branch Manager Leon Cho may be reached at lcho@oaklandlibrary.org or call (510) 482-7810.  (Also remember that all Oakland libraries will be shut this Friday, March 13th, as part of the city-wide furloughs.)

Here are the closest Oakland branches beyond Montclair, including directions from our library:

  • Dimond – 3565 Fruitvale Ave (site, events, directions) – open Mon & Tues (12:30pm-8:00pm); Wed, Thurs & Sat (10:00am-5:30pm), Fri (12:00pm-5:30pm) – reach Branch Manager Mary Schrader at mschrader@oaklandlibrary.org or call (510) 482-7844
  • Piedmont Ave – 160 41st St (site, events, directions) – open Mon (12:30pm-8:00pm); Tues, Wed, Thurs & Sat (10:00am-5:30pm), Fri (12:00pm-5:30pm) – reach Branch Manager Sharon McKellar at smckellar@oaklandlibrary.org or call (510) 597-5011
  • Rockridge – 5366 College Ave (site, events, directions) – open Mon & Tues (12:30pm-8:00pm); Wed, Thurs & Sat (10:00am-5:30pm), Fri (12:00pm-5:30pm) – reach Branch Manager Patricia Lichter at plichter@oaklandlibrary.org or call (510) 597-5017
  • Temescal – 5205 Telegraph Ave (site, events, directions) – open Mon (12:30pm-8:00pm); Tues, Wed, Thurs & Sat (10:00am-5:30pm), Fri (12:00pm-5:30pm) – reach Branch Manager Sally Bean at sbean@oaklandlibrary.org or call (510) 597-5049

If you really need help, then we suggest reaching the main branch (site).  On many occasions, I have called different departments – especially adult reference services (510-238-3138) and the local history room (510-238-3222) – and their knowledgeable staff has ably guided me to relevant off-line and on-line resources.

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Your Hills Budget Meeting, Monday at 7pm

Before the City of Oakland makes its final budget cuts, there’s one opportunity for you to participate in the discussion.  Our city rep, Jean Quan, organized a meeting for District 4 constituents tonight at 7pm, in the Redwood Heights Recreation Center (map).

Given the Oakland budget gap, this is an important opportunity to discuss where the cuts should be and should not be made.  Among other city services, our well-loved parks and libraries are at risk – and we must provide guidance in these areas.

To understand the current budget, this chart (above) shows how funds are distributed to each department.  There’s not much to work with, with some 64% that gets directed to the police and fire departments.

Late last month, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums issued a full report covering the budget and where the city recommends cutbacks.  According to the report, Dellums and his team explain that “having only $110 million in discretionary budget leaves little flexibility when attempting to eliminate a $37.4 million shortfall.”

Just like private industry, the recommendations to freeze hiring, lay off current staff, minimize salary increases, and shorten the work weeks are appropriate – if painful – steps to close the gap.

Mark Zinns, who supervises Montclair Park, confirms the cuts:  “Yes it’s true that Montclair Recreation Center and Park is facing some serious cut-backs because of the city’s financial crisis.”  He expects to shutter the Rec Center every Friday, and make cuts/layoffs to maintenance, gardening and recreation staff.

The City also plans to eliminate the remaining handful of park rangers, who specialize in park safety.  This past weekend, for example, Joaquin Miller was closed due to high winds and fire danger.  Are the replacement beat cops, who earn more than the rangers, ready to handle new assignments?

Finally, local libraries are under examination – and Montclair’s hours and programs are at risk too.  No one needs to argue about the educational resources available both online and on the shelves.  Our storybook library has been a source of pride for years, and it should stay opened six days/week.

Cutting back on parks and libraries doesn’t solve the bigger budget gap, because their numbers are quite small.  As you can see, only six percent of the budget is spent on them.  While there’s no question that some minor reductions could be made, we have to make sure that these civic resources don’t get decimated.

We live in interesting times.  Keep in mind that the WPA was busy building up these neighborhood gems during the Great Depression, and now we are thinking they are places not worthy of sufficient resources with this economic downturn.