ESCONDIDO — The Escondido City Council met on Wednesday, Aug. 25, to hear an update on the Escondido Public Library, which included information about a redesign of the first floor, the ending of overdue fines and the addition of a pocket park and a fitness court that would replace part of the parking area.
The library reopened on Feb. 1 after limiting access to patrons due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Friends of the Escondido Public Library Book Shop reopened in July after 15 months.
Escondido Public Library Director Dara Bradds and Deputy City Manager Joanna Axelrod presented these updates to the City Council and reiterated their weeding policy, which was brought into question in May.
“Collection management is an important part of maintaining a healthy collection for the community,” Axelrod said. “This process was discussed and vetted by the board … and a few of the board members even took the opportunity to tour the library and meet with the staff to learn about their professional expertise. … After learning the details of the workflow and reviewing the documentation, the board fully supports the process and the staff that are providing it.”
The library has also removed media borrowing fees and overdue fines, implemented automatic renewals and extended its hours of operation.
“One of the biggest things I’m proud of is the fact that we are going fine-free, I think that is a huge mark for equity in our community and it encourages people who haven’t been to the library due to fear of fines to come back in,” said Carolyn Clemens, president of the Library Board of Trustees.
A mural donated by the Escondido Library Foundation will soon be added to the library, as well as a pocket park outside of the library and a future fitness court as part of the National Fitness Campaign.
The City Council also gave final approval to an amendment to the Downtown Specific Plan on ground-floor retail requirements.