PrimeTime’s Study on the Los Altos Public Library

Los Altos Informs

A study by the PrimeTime Project

Los Altos Community Foundation


Los Altos Informs takes its name from the vital role of our community library in every stage of our individual lives. It begins with story time for toddlers and study time for students, and it continues with college applications and career guidance for young adults.  For mature adults, our library gives us tools for personal growth, along with practical information such as tax and business advice and tips for navigating government resources.  Our library offers an encyclopedic array of some 200 electronic data bases to complement its programs and its books and e-books, CDs and DVDs, magazines and newspapers.  Perhaps most importantly, at every age and stage, it transports us to other times and places for relaxation, entertainment, and inspiration.   All this is available to us 64 hours a week, including dedicated librarians who help us find what we need, and a rich website available 24/7.

Many of us have taken pride in national recognition of our library, and we are pleased to be able to share this community asset without limit, with folks from our neighboring communities and beyond.

This year, however, our library decided to compensate for loss of significant state funding by charging an annual fee to anyone from outside our service area who wanted to use our library.  This action raised questions in the community about who can make such decisions for us.  Because we are part of a county library system, these decisions are made at the county level.  Even though we might want to continue offering our library services to anyone who needed them, we couldn’t do so unless they paid the fee.

Questions were raised in the community as to whether Los Altos and Los Altos Hills could perhaps own and manage our library ourselves, in order to make independent decisions about how our library would function.

This question is not a simple one.  On the one hand, we would be able to make our own decisions about allocation of resources and extending our services to surrounding communities.  On the other hand, if we were not affiliated with the county, we would probably lose free access to its services, its 2.1 M materials, its 200 electronic databases, and some economies of scale.

Again on the one hand, our relationship with the library is subjective, having to do with the personal, the experiential, and even the emotional.  On the other hand, there are practical considerations such as the extent of collections and services we really need, and the perceived value received for the cost of such services.  Transition costs and space available to house a larger collection and additional workers also must be considered.

We at the LACF PrimeTime Project wanted to make a significant contribution to the discussion of this critical issue.  We recognize the importance of all these factors, but the PrimeTime Project is committed to finding and sharing with you the factual aspects of an issue, to assist you in decision-making.  So we decided to conduct the Los Altos Informs study, which will focus sharply on the operating costs of a community-owned and operated library vs. belonging to a county system.

The study will first estimate the operating expenditures paid by the Santa Clara County Library on behalf of the LA/LAH library.  Then it will estimate what it would cost us to operate the Los Altos Library as a community library independent of the county, and compare this to selected other community-owned and operated libraries in California. Next, the study will discuss other potential cost categories and community values that should be considered.  Finally, it will estimate what the community currently pays for our library services, as evidenced by our taxes, fees, fines, and contributions.

The study report is scheduled to be published on this website in March 2012.

January Mixer

Los Altos Community Foundation

Invites you to the January Mixer!

 Please join us in welcoming the New Year and celebrating the Year of the Dragon.

Enjoy delicious appetizers, courtesy of Chef Chu’s, and selected wines.

Friday, January 27

5:00 pm to 6:30 pm

Neutra House


Please bring a guest who may want to meet us

and learn more about LACF.


Please remember to RSVP to Monica at 650-949-5908 or so that we know how many to accommodate.

MVLA Celebrates with Books

The MVLA Community Scholars held its 2011 Scholars Winter Celebration of Books on Dec 28, 2011.

Both the scholars and their mentors began the evening with a delicious dinner at PastaQ in Mountain View. Following the dinner, everyone strolled over to Books, Inc for some post-Xmas book shopping, socializing and desserts.

The scholars and mentors each received a $10 gift certificate to be used towards any book purchased that evening. And Books Inc. donated 20% of all proceeds to the MVLA Community Scholars.

MVLA Community Scholars improves the economic mobility and quality of life of local, high-potential, underserved youth by providing scholarships to make college accessible and individual mentoring to make a four-year degree achievable.

Who are Scholars?

  • 30% male/70% female
  • 36% two-year schools/64% four-year schools
  • 95% in state/5% out of state
  • 11% private colleges/89% public institutions
  • 92% in college/8%stopped out, but still in program
  • Average GPA 3.1
  • Average Household income: $35,000
  • 97% First generation in family to attend college


MVLA Community Roundtable Common Scholarship Now Available

The 2012 MVLA Community Roundtable Common Scholarship Application is now available on-line.

 When you arrive at the MVLA Scholars’ page, just scroll down to the link which contains the Common Scholarship Application.  This application serves as the application for scholarships offered by the Los Altos Rotary Club, Mountain View Kiwanis Club, Mountain View Los Altos Community Scholars, Mountain View Rotary Club, Quota International of Mountain View/Los Altos and Richard G. Bell Memorial Scholarship.

Application Submission Deadline is: February 29, 2012

MVLA Community Scholars improves the economic mobility and quality of life of local, high-potential, underserved youth by providing scholarships to make college accessible and individual mentoring to make a four-year degree achievable.


Claudia Coleman LEADS the Way as Outstanding Community Volunteer

Nominated by the Los Altos Community Foundation and endorsed by numerous community dignitaries, our own Board Member Claudia Coleman was honored Friday at the 29th Annual City of Los Altos/Town of Los Altos Hills Joint Volunteer Awards Luncheon.

Held on a beautiful, crisp afternoon at Fremont Hills Country Club, Claudia was among nine volunteers heralded for their often unsung contributions to making our community better, through their volunteer work.

Roy Lave introduced Claudia as a woman who exemplifies the best of what a volunteer does, not only in the countless hours given to serving the community, but with grace and a positive attitude which translates into motivating others to give their time and talent as well.

Claudia not only serves as a LACF Board member and Chair of the Board Development committee, but she is the incoming Board Chair of the El Camino Hospital Foundation, and has also been an active Board Member with the local chapter of the American Red Cross.

Numerous supporters wrote letters of recommendation for Claudia, including Bob Adams who commented, “She is a lady who contributes a huge amount of insight to problems that need solving by exercising a great deal of thought before contributing any type of suggestion or decision. These contributions are usually offered with humor and/or conviction.”

Claudia was lauded by many for her management of the Leadership Education Advancement (LEAD) series, which starts up again in January to educate local citizens about the inner workings of our community and potential volunteer opportunities. Claudia also has a concern for keeping our downtown vibrant with shoppers and activities during the revitalization, and as a result, organized a Pop-Up Dinner on a Sunday evening in October. It was met with such success that guests are anxious to know when the next one is.

Congratulations to Claudia on this well-deserved honor from the Board and staff of the Los Altos Community Foundation!


Dowtown Holiday Party

What is “First Friday?”
  • Organized by Los Altos Forward, which is sponsored by the Los Altos Community Foundation
  • Fun, social evening event for residents of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and surrounding areas
  • Each First Friday will have a theme or attraction
  • Merchants and restaurants are encouraged to stay open for additional business
  • Currently planned for the even months of the year (February, April, June, August, October, and December)

Contact information
Joe Eyre,

Annual LACF Open House

Celebrate with us!

Please join the Los Altos Community Foundation for a festive evening at our Annual Open House.

Wednesday, December 14, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 PM

183 Hillview, Los Altos

Enjoy wine and gourmet cheese plus holiday music

 Also enjoy both original and holiday music by local singer/songwriter Tami Mulcahy, whose joyful songs will surely put you in the true spirit of the holidays.

For questions, please contact Monica Davis at

The Los Altos Community Foundation, 183 Hillview Avenue, Los Altos CA 94022 650.949.5908

LACF Beats Holiday Stroll Rain With Song and Crafts

Los Altos residents braved a rainy Friday evening for the annual Holiday Stroll.  The Los Altos Community Foundation greeted soggy strollers with cider, ornament crafts, and an original holiday song created by Vicki Reeder.

[slickr-flickr tag=”stroll” items=”18″ type=”slideshow”]

Carol for Los Altos Community Foundation


(tune: Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, words by Haven Gillespie, music by J. Fred Coots, 1934.)

New words by Vicki Reeder, 2011.

You better join up / Better just try / To help us do good / We’re tellin’ you why: / LACF’s helpin’ this town.

We fund lots of groups / Don’t have to ask twice / We made a list of who’s naughty and nice

LACF’s helpin’ this town / We donate to The Children / The Arts and Seniors too / If you’ve a cause that’s awf’lly good,

Perhaps we will help YOU! / Oh! Please check us out / Buy in, you’ll see / The difference we make Is plain as can be

LACF’s helpin’ this town.




Los Altos Community Foundation Supporters Enjoy Annual Brunch

LACF members hit the buffetOn October 16th, Board members, staff, Founders and other supporters of LACF gathered for a Harvest-themed brunch at the beautifully decorated Los Altos Golf and Country Club.

The Annual Brunch serves as both an informational and social event, providing guests the opportunity to hear Executive Director Roy Lave give an update on the highlights of the current fiscal year, which included some staffing additions and an acknowledgment of the success of the fundraising Gala held in August.

Keynote speaker, Carol Larson, President and CEO of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, discussed the partnership between their foundation and LACF, siting the important role we play in the vetting of grant requests and distribution of funds to local organizations.

Skye Delano, Program Director for LACF’s E-3 youth philanthropy program shared her group’s enthusiasm for discovering youth-led opportunities that the E-3 group engages with.  Through E-3 (Engage, Educate, Empower), middle school and high school students learn about the importance of philanthropy at any age.  Four members of the E-3 program presented their work and how empowering it felt to be able to give to members of our community in need.