LWVP Sends Letter Regarding Free Publically Supported Library Service for Piedmont Residents

LWV Making Democracy Work

The League of Women Voters of Piedmont sent the following letter to the Piedmont Mayor addressing the League's concern that the City of Piedmont should pay our fair share for library services and have a more concrete agreement with the City of Oakland.


April 13, 2019

Robert McBain, Mayor
City of Piedmont
120 Vista Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611
rmcbain [at] piedmont.ca.gov

Re: Free publically supported library service for Piedmont residents

Dear Mayor McBain:

The League of Women Voters of Piedmont (LWVP) is committed to ensuring that our residents
have full access to free quality public library services. Indeed, the LWVP has, since 1995, taken
a position to “Support the availability of free, publicly supported library services for all
Piedmont citizens. These services should be equal to the services provided by major library
systems. We believe that, as a responsible member of the Bay Area community, Piedmont
should pay its fair share for quality library services.”

We note that the Oakland Public Library has announced its first increase in hours of service
since 2004 effective April 1st. Neighborhood branches including those nearest Piedmont will be
open six days per week (up from five) and two evenings per week (up from one). The March 1
press release is posted on the library’s website: http://oaklandlibrary.org/oakland-publiclibrary-
announces-expanded-hours-starting-april-1-2019. According to the annual report of the
Oakland Public Library, the operating costs of the library (FY 2017-2018) totaled $30,554,044.
(See, www.oaklandlibrary.org/annualreport.)

For many years, Piedmont residents have enjoyed access to all the branches and services of a
major library system thanks to an arrangement between the Cities of Piedmont and Oakland.
The last formal agreement between the cities, dating from 1998, expired in June 2008, and at
that time Piedmont’s payment to Oakland was $350,471. We have reviewed the City of
Piedmont budget for the past 12 years, and it appears that amount has not changed since 2008.

Given the increase in services, and the associated costs of these services, we believe that the
City of Piedmont should take action to review and revise its current arrangement to ensure that
we pay our fair share and have a more concrete agreement with the City of Oakland, in order to
maintain library services. We understand that such an action must be part of the ongoing
budget deliberations that will be taking place in May 2019, and we look forward to participating
in that process.


Nancy A. Beninati
President, League of Women Voters Piedmont

cc: Piedmont City Council
City Manager


League to which this content belongs: