News

Danville Library closed for renovations

Work underway; minimal services still available during two-week shutdown

The Danville Library is closed to the public through June 26 as construction crews complete renovations aimed at upgrading aging equipment and decor at the downtown facility.

Work began Monday on the nearly $265,000, town-funded project to replace heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, remodel the public restrooms and enhance the adult and teen sections' seating areas.

"The Danville Library has always been a fantastic community resource, with welcoming staff and a beautiful facility," Contra Costa County Librarian Jessica Hudson said in a statement. "With the town of Danville providing these needed updates, the library will be able to provide an even higher level of service and comfort."

During the closure, the library will offer minimal services to patrons in the Mt. Diablo Meeting Room, on the south end of the building across from the Danville Community Center entrance.

Located at 400 Front St., the Danville Library opened 20 years ago and receives more than 280,000 visitors each year, according to town officials.

"While many of us still remember the Danville Library's grand opening like it was yesterday, the library building is now two decades old and has attracted over 5 million patrons," said Nat Rojanasathira, assistant to the town manager for Danville. "Improvements to the library restrooms, infrastructure, lighting and seating will be welcomed by the community."

The improvement project includes an estimated $119,601 in HVAC upgrades, including replacing eight large HVAC units on the library's roof, according to Geoff Gillette, town public information coordinator. The exterior book drop will be closed for safety reasons during the HVAC work.

Other renovation components include $85,332 in restroom improvements, $40,000 for high-grade commercial furniture and lounge chairs, and $20,000 in lighting work, town officials said.

The project funding comes from the town's library asset replacement fund, Gillette said.

Though the library is closed to the public until June 27, patrons can still place holds on materials. People will be notified by phone or email that their item is ready for pickup.

Other minimal library services will be available, including catalog computers for on-site account access or to search and place holds on library materials, staff assistance with e-commerce, account issues and limited reference, phone reference, return of library materials during regular hours, renewal of existing library accounts and opening of new library cards, town officials said.

For more information on library services available during the closure, contact Brooke Converse, community and media relations coordinator, at 927-3213 or bconvers@ccclib.org.

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Comments

5 people like this
Posted by lklksdlk
a resident of Danville
on Jun 21, 2016 at 7:00 am

So what exactly was wrong with the restrooms that required remodeling? What was it about the lounge chairs that called for $40,000 replacements? What a terrible waste of town dollars. The decision makers here should be made to post (at the library) the proposal for all to read before making such choices to spend taxpayer dollars, so we citizens at least know about it. In addition, they should post on local publications (like this website) so that citizens have the chance to question and receive clarification on these expenditures. I go to the library once every couple weeks and would have preferred the money be spent on more reading materials, quite frankly. Isn't that what a library is for? I don't go there to go to the restroom or take a nap in a chair. Sheesh.


4 people like this
Posted by Geoff Gillette
a resident of Danville
on Jun 23, 2016 at 3:19 pm

Geoff Gillette is a registered user.

LK,

Sorry, I've been out of Town for a few days and just saw this. I appreciate the feedback on the project.

So here's some background to help answer some of your concerns.

The Danville Library is a partnership between the Town of Danville and the Contra Costa County Library system. The cost for books and other materials are covered by Contra Costa County, along with staffing for basic library hours. The Town pays the County $200,000 each year to extend Library hours by an additional 25 hours per week, allowing the Danville Library to open 60 hours per week, tied with Orinda for the most operating hours of any other library in the 26 library branch system.

The building was built in 1996 and has since hosted over 5 million patrons. The restrooms have been in use by patrons of the library and the Town Green complex and have deteriorated over time. The countertops were falling apart, toilets in the men’s restroom were coming off of the walls and the ventilation system in the men’s restroom was failing. Given its use and age, the restrooms needed to be upgraded, along with the HVAC system and lighting system. The 25 lounge chairs in the Library were also 20 years old and needed to be replaced. The fabric was quite torn and faded. They’re used by patrons in the Fireplace Reading Room and by guests studying and reading.

As with all capital projects in Town, we have opportunities for the public to provide feedback during the budget process and throughout the year.

Hope this helps. Have a great day.

Geoff

Geoff Gillette
Public Information Coordinator
Town of Danville
(925) 314-3336
ggillette@danville.ca.gov.


8 people like this
Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Jun 23, 2016 at 5:08 pm

Geoff, as usual, you have provided an informed, polite, and rational answer to a question asked by a local citizen. I appreciate you always answering questions we have for the town, without being defensive, and without an agenda or political correctness. You are a breath of fresh air for a government employee! I watch on the news the spokespersons for Oakland, Bart, San Francisco, San Jose, and others fail to objectively and fairly answer legitimate questions by citizens, and always clinging to political correct propaganda and spin. These spokespersons could learn a lot from you, on how to be polite and responsive to questions from concerned citizens. Thank you for keeping us informed.


Like this comment
Posted by lklksdlk
a resident of Danville
on Jun 25, 2016 at 8:35 am

Geoff, while I respect the fact that you responded, I do take issue with parts of your explanation. I am a fairly consistent patron of the library as I stated. I've used the bathrooms there and saw no evidence of "countertops falling apart" or "toilets coming off walls"; nor do I think that fabric fading on chairs is a reason to replace them to the tune of $40,000. I think in this day and age the expenditures by government (and Danville) have become excessive in some cases and need to be addressed. There are numerous public works projects around town that I believe necessitate and require additional scrutiny by the public; particularly when it comes to cost - examples are multiple road projects, sidewalk widening, additional vegetation additions, etc.
So my questions are: when and where did the opportunity for the public to provide feedback during the budget process and throughout the year present itself in regards to these expenditures for the library renovation? Was there a meeting held with the information presented and a vote taken? Was that meeting publicized to the patrons of the library and the town itself so that they could attend and perhaps provide input on preferred expenditures (like more current reading material?)? If the meeting was publicized, was there some form of communication readily available at the library itself for the patrons to understand and respond to?
Thanks in advance for your replies.


2 people like this
Posted by Geoff Gillette
a resident of Danville
on Jun 27, 2016 at 2:34 pm

Geoff Gillette is a registered user.

Good afternoon!

American - Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated.


LK - I appreciate the feedback and your concerns. I will try to take them one at a time to do my best to explain.

Bathroom work: While the countertops may not have been at a state where they were literally falling apart, the fact is that they were showing extreme signs of wear and our maintenance staff was having to spend time patching them to keep them safe for use and as aesthetically pleasing as we could. The wood beneath the countertops was rotted as well. The toilets were indeed sagging and pulling away from the walls, which necessitated our maintenance workers to install bracing underneath them to keep them tilted back against the walls and not coming forward. In addition, we have been hearing for some time that the ventilation (in the men’s room particularly) was very poor and in need of replacement. Our maintenance staff was having to spend time dealing with these issues periodically and so it was determined that the most cost effective solution was to replace them. The new automatic toilets will also provide a water savings as they are designed for low water use.

Chair replacement: The chairs were not just worn, but had to be cleaned periodically by maintenance. In addition, the fabric on some of them (after years of use) had been discolored to the point where they couldn’t be cleaned sufficiently to where they no longer appeared faded or discolored. Yes, the cost was high for the chairs, but we purchased replacements designed specifically for use in extremely high traffic areas such as the Danville Library. The library has had 5 million users in 20 years. In 2015 alone, there were 350,000 people in and out of the library. The new chairs are hospital grade, with wooden legs and steel bracing. The fabrics are designed to be more easily removed from the chairs for cleaning and intended to last longer under high traffic. Buying chairs from Costco or Ikea would have been a good deal less expensive, but would have needed to be replaced often, creating ongoing additional costs in repair, replacement and staff time.

Public works projects: The Town has a responsibility to maintain the streets and properties throughout Danville. Each year we have a pavement program that works diligently to repair and reseal pavement on various streets. These are necessary projects for the safety and security of the community. They are not done frivolously or with no regard to cost. Our Planning staff spends a great deal of time determining which areas are most in need of assistance and plan our projects with an eye toward getting them done as inexpensively as possible with as little impact on the public as can be done. I am not sure what added vegetation you’re referring to, but with the drought over the last four years, there have been no projects to add vegetation. In fact, there has been a concerted effort to reduce water consumption as much as possible, while still preserving the landscaping that is already in place. Just allowing it all to die would create a much larger cost down the road when the drought is over and those areas would then need to be replanted. All of our Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) are approved during the annual budget process, which is open to the public.

Information: As I mentioned above, the CIP is always a part of the Town’s budget process. Budget hearings are generally held in May and are open to the public. The meetings were posted on our main website www.danville.ca.gov, on our Town newsletter www.danvilletodayonline.com and were put out to the public and press in a press release. Any member of the public can sign up for Town of Danville notices (press releases, commission openings, etc) through the Town’s e-news service. You can subscribe by going to the Town’s website and scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on ‘sign up for e-News Updates.’ In many cases, as we broaden our outreach through social media, press releases and other announcements are put on our Facebook page, Twitter feed and Nextdoor Agency feed. We are always open to suggestions as to how to reach our community more effectively.

As I mentioned before, the Town does not provide funding for the reading materials etc, within the library. The library is a part of the Contra Costa County Library system, which gets their funding separately from the Town of Danville. We provide funding for facility (building) improvements.

Once again, I appreciate the feedback. I hope I was able to clarify things a little better. If you'd like to speak with someone further about the project, you can contact Assistant to the Town Manager Nat Rojanasathira at (925) 314-3328 or nrojanasathira@danville.ca.gov.

Thanks
Geoff.

Geoff Gillette
Public Information Coordinator
Town of Danville
(925) 314-3328
ggillette@danville.ca.gov


2 people like this
Posted by lklksdlk
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2016 at 8:09 am

Hi Geoff, I took the time to visit the library yesterday to check out a book and did a very informal viewing of the work performed per your statements above. As a concerned citizen, I recommend you send someone out to do an audit of that work - specific to the chairs and bathroom work. I counted no more than 19 chairs that had fabric of any sort on them and those chairs (other than the ones in the children's reading area) looked the same as they did 3 months ago. Please go have a look. As to the men's room (the only one I went into) the sink was no more than 2'x3' in size (tiny), made of Corian I believe, and there was a single urinal along with a single toilet stall. So clearly not a lot of work (20K) was performed there. As for the ventilation, it seemed fine, but restrooms usually aren't the best smelling places in the world so not sure of the original issue that was corrected?
What I am saying is that $85K for the restrooms + $40K for the chairs sure seems like a lot of money for what was provided, and as a taxpayer who helped pay for these services/materials, I would like to request an audit of the work performed, see who is accountable, and if adjustments are necessary, demand those adjustments. We all just cannot stand by and watch while we're being taken advantage of; and if that's the case here, we should be vigilant and responsible. Thanks Geoff, and let us know how the audit goes and where it's publicly accessible!


2 people like this
Posted by Geoff Gillette
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2016 at 10:12 am

Geoff Gillette is a registered user.

Hi LK,

I have stopped by the library and I know there are a few touchup items they are working on over the next two weeks. And yes, all of the chairs are not in place yet. More chairs are arriving on July 12.

As for the bathrooms, we have rules we have to follow in regards to how the restrooms are laid out(must be ADA accessible, for instance). But all of the floor and wall tiles had to be replaced, as were the countertops, toilets and ventilation system. And that was for both the men's and women's restrooms.

If you would like to discuss the issue with the project manager, you are welcome to reach out to him directly. His name is Nat Rojanasathira. He is the Assistant to the Town Manager and he has said he would be happy to talk about it with you. You can reach him at nrojanasathira@danville.ca.gov or (925) 314-3328.

Thanks for the feedback.

Have a great 4th of July.

Geoff

Geoff Gillette
Public Information Coordinator
Town of Danville
(925) 314-3336
ggillette@danville.ca.gov


8 people like this
Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Jul 4, 2016 at 6:29 pm

Geoff, you have the patience of a saint. Seriously!


Like this comment
Posted by dbrower
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 15, 2016 at 11:54 pm

20 chairs for $40,000 seems like $2,000 a seat. I wouldn't dispute that the old ones were shot, but $2,000 a piece for new ones seems a tad steep, even for institutional-grade furnishing. That could use a little explanation, I think. $500 can buy a pretty good chair. For example, 10 minutes found Web Link which has $300 upholstered seat/back chairs with legs or sled bottoms.

I wouldn't argue that touching bathrooms will cost about the amount mentioned, as anyone who has contracted for remodeled/renovated ones around here knows.




Like this comment
Posted by Farfetched
a resident of Danville
on Jul 23, 2016 at 8:53 am

Diane, I guess to you it's inappropriate to question town expenditures based on your inference to Geoff having the "patience of a saint". Unfortunately, when you allow unbridled spending, governmental agencies sometimes take advantage of that. Does 19 trillion $ sound familiar? Besides, I believe it's Geoff's job, if I'm not mistaken. I was raised in a generation where we questioned authority. Sheeple werent, they just "go with it" as evidenced by debt rates these days. I guess it may be the case for you that "I'm not out of money until I run out of checks!". Best of luck to you with that.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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