Town Square

Post a New Topic

City Council at odds over new name for Main Library

Original post made on Sep 10, 2013

The name "Rinconada" has been attached to Palo Alto ever since the city's founders carved out some land for development from the Rancho Rinconada del Arroyo de San Francisquito land grant more than 150 years ago. But the idea to switch Main Library's name to Rinconada Library proved a hard sell at Monday night's meeting of the City Council.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 11:38 AM

Comments (45)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 10, 2013 at 11:49 am

How about the Willie Brown Main Library?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 10, 2013 at 11:58 am


I think lots of people are sick and tired of the political aspects of naming things after people, and the social aspects of naming them after corporations. Yuck!

I don't want the library closest to me to be named after a person or a corporation. I don't mind for example Eleanor Pardee Park ... if that is still its name because I don't know who she is and was probably a local honor for someone who deserved it ... but still why not just find nice neutral names for things instead of turning everything into a profit center or partisan war.

I think Rinconada Library makes sense because the closest association would be the Rinconada Park complex which is almost in the same location ... a great idea.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 10, 2013 at 12:18 pm

How About " High Speed Rail Depot"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jared
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm

"Rinconada" does not mean "elbow" in English, if by elbow we mean the arm joint. That's "codo." It translates more like "corner," so it might refer to a geographical bend of some sort.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Y so difficult?
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Agree with Scharff: Follow the location idea. Keep the Mitchell name, rename the Main library, "Newell". Don't confuse everyone with a person's name (unless, of course, the foundation of the person can help with funding to make it superior than what is already planned). And yes, when people donate, they DO name buildings and dorms after them!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PA Firefighter
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Can think of only one person who was a class act and did so much for the residents and employees of the city of Palo Alto...Gary Fazzino.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by robit noops
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm

"The Palo Alto Process" library.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by internet age
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm

We should name it after Anna Kronestic.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by internet age
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm

We should name it after Anna Kronestic.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by take a vote
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 10, 2013 at 2:40 pm

"one of any number of distinguished Palo Altans who are deceased and who are not recognized,"

That's right, because more people would prefer it called the "Steve Jobs Library" than "Rinconada Library". Seriously?
We've been following location (park or neighborhood) or function, for the libraries. Don't mess with it. Call it "Rinconada Library" or "Crescent Park Library". Either of these would be preferable to the above suggestion.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Main
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Why change it at all? "Because Mitchell will be bigger," seems a week argument. How much will it cost to change the name, considering signage, stationery costs, website updates, and the like? Why spend any money?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mitchell Park Library Neighbor
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 10, 2013 at 4:28 pm

What ever is wrong with "main Library?"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary G
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Please, please, please - do not name the library after a person. We have had enough of that. A geographical designation is much less confusing and simpler.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident #3
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 10, 2013 at 8:04 pm

"Rinconada" refers to a place at or in a corner. Nothing to do with "elbow" aside from the shape.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 10, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Why is Liz Kniss absent so frequently on important votes and discussions? Could it be that in the future she doesn't want to be on the unpopular side- in case she is running for office again in the future?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by one library to rule them all
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 11, 2013 at 10:04 am

Why did we not just build one gigantic library that was open 24 hours a day? That would have been more useful then these teeny tiny places that are open for limited hours. As it is they are open when kids are at school and people are at work that is completely useless.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cur Mudgeon
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 11, 2013 at 10:20 am

Name it after one or more of the developers who have done sooo much for our city's growth and density, and who always get what they want.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Prefer Rinconada
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 11, 2013 at 10:39 am

Rinconada appropriate for Palo Alto early history and heritage, location, association with the Park, and is more musical to the ear than somebody's name. It is also a more permanent name; people's names go out of memory.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Duh
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 10:47 am

Newell Library. Mitchell Park is at Mitchell Park. Downtown is Downtown. Newell is Newell. Why waste the money?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 10:55 am

one library to rule them all, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood
> Why did we not just build one gigantic library that was open 24 hours a day?

I laughed at this at first ... but then I got to thinking. Instead of a park, or in addition to a park, why not have a place where people can go and spend time in a community setting. Mitchell Park could have been the ideal setting for it ... backing on a park, and fronting on Middlefield this could have been like a mini-MidTown, but small businesses or kiosks that support the library in some way. Something for the mind and community open later than 9 or 10 in Palo Alto would be nice.

We have have a library, in a kind of shopping mall, with maybe a Starbucks, snack place, like they do in national parks, sub-ing out to contractors, take the rent and apply it towards maintenance, upkeep and the pay of the librarians and staff.

Create a place where people can use their Kindles and digital tools where the books are, and where a great network connection could be. A copy center would be nice, like a Kinkos.

Would that even be possible? It sure would be better and more functional than just a library, a real community place for the intellect ... we sure need it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:02 am

Yes, the "Newell" Libray is on Newell. Does anyone know who or what Newell was?

I am sure he or she was a great person, but Newell has no real meaning other than a street name.

Mitchell Park is named not after a street, but after Mitchell Park, where it is. I don't know who Mitchell is or was either.

The downtown Library is kind of substandard. What is it even used for? Does anyone even use it or go there?

The point being, that Rinconada, like Mitchell, is the name of a Palo Alto Park, and in the case of Riconada a sort of Community Center complex. Rinconada or Community Center Library would make sense.

Most places these days are going more and more paperless, so I doubt the cost to change is going to be significant. Changing the Newell Library is probably a good idea.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by one library to rule them all
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:10 am

@CrescentParkAnon: Good ideas. I would also add the new police headquarters to the same structure so that we would have fewer security issues, especially with something open into the wee hours of the morning.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wayne
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:47 am

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:54 am

Downtown Library is very busy. A lot of people are within walking distance. Limited book selection, but the book delivery process works very well.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:58 am

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced post.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joinpa
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Just curious how much money was spent on this naming process?
Rinconada Park is part of the community center which includes the Children's library and the old "Main" library on Newell Road. Why on earth would we name the library, which is across town, the same name as the Park that has a library a FEW FEET away from it? Born and raised in Palo Alto and living in the Community Center neighborhood - this seems absurd!

Either name it the new Main Library, since it's bigger & new compared to the Newell Street Main Library OR think of a different name. Rinconada makes no sense. Why RESUSE the name of the long established Park?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Read Jay's blog on the subject as well as the comments on the subject. Interesting to read these views too. Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mitchell Park Library Neighbor
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm

One library to rule them all says: "Why did we not just build one gigantic library that was open 24 hours a day?"

Because all the homeless would occupy the building if you leave it open all night, maybe that's what you want. Of course you'd have to leave the toilets and showers open 24 hours a day too. We could fill the parking lot with permanently parked RVs and campers!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by one library to rule them all
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm

@Mitchell Park Library Neighbor: Good point about the homeless. How does 8am to 12midnight sound for operating hours?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Whiskers
a resident of Los Altos
on Sep 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm

"...people's names go out of memory". San Jose used to have a Jay McCabe Hall on San Carlos Street, named after a local benefactor of many years. Finally most of those who knew him passed on, so the name was changed to something common and unmemorable. I used to know where McCabe Hall was. I have no idea where or what the new hall is.

Moral: have a name that means something. Rinconada Library says to me "branch library". Main Library says to me, "Hey, that must be the main library!"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim H.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 11, 2013 at 1:33 pm

No wonder nothing ever gets done on time in this city. How much time needs to be spent on naming a library? Seriously. Palo Alto Library - Newell Branch. Palo Alto Library - East Branch. Naming it after someone only invites complaints, criticism and arguments.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jared Bernstein
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 11, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Rinconada or Newell is fine.

Skip the naming after people. Location is better.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by been there
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Posted by Cur Mudgeon, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, 3 hours ago
"Name it after one or more of the developers who have done sooo much for our city's growth and density, and who always get what they want."

Or, a combination: Roxy-Arugula Library.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by DGN
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Why is the "staff" making such sweeping decisions for our town? Most of them live 50 miles away and they know NOTHING about our town. They only know how to take the University Avenue exit off of Highway 101 to get to their office. Period. They don't know our neighborhoods, our history, or have any feel for the town. Downtown Palo Alto is becoming an office park. It's all very upsetting.

Why was the downtown city hall plaza named Martin Luther King Plaza? He was not a part of Palo Alto history, per se. Yes, they'll probably rename the Main Library the Willie Brown Memorial Library.
We need a clean sweep at city hall.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No developers
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 11, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I agree with naming the library after Gary Fazzino...it would be an appropriate memorial. Or possibly after Lucie Stern, who donated her land and the community center to the city. "Rincon" is Spanish for corner, and the whole property is near a corner...Rinconada is the name of the adjacent park, so that is acceptable.

But, please, do not be like Stanford and name the place after some greedy developer. And certainly not after the curmudgeonly Mr Jobs, who disliked other people's kids, hated libraries, and was generally not a nice person.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Agree that it should not be named after a person, at least, a new person's name should not be added to the mix (with the names "Newell" or "Mitchell" excepted). A place name is much better. Agree that Main Library for Newell Road Branch is confusing. Keep it simple: Newell Road library should be: Newell or Rinconada. Mitchell Park Library should just stay Mitchell Park Library, or if not, "Palo Alto Main Library" to avoid confusion.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Possible names
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 11, 2013 at 5:33 pm

> Roxy-Arugula Library Love it!

And rename Michell Park library: Bloated Ugly Glass Library
or BUG Library for short.

If the BUG wasn't so greedy taking Main's functions away, there wouldn't be the pressure to rename Main at all. Come to think of it where does the pressure come from anyway? Who stirred up this hornet's nest?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by DanT
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 11, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Re-name Mitchell Park the Winchester Mystery Library, because I don't believe it's ever going to be finished. Then the Main can remain the Main.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by P.A. process
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2013 at 7:43 pm

City Hall Plaza was named without any public input at a Council
meeting.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by DC
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 11, 2013 at 10:59 pm

to "Possible names": I think the new Mitchell Park building is rather beautiful; All the light that comes in thru the windows means less energy needed during daylight hours to create light, the wall of succulents adds texture and color and life, and insulation, the stone work is beautiful....I hope you weren't wanting yet another pseudo- Spanish/Italian- Phoenix- subdivision- building like most of the new homes going in now? Character of a place is important. Character doesn't have to mean everything is one style, or old-fashioned. There is room for all styles. Makes it interesting. That said, I've read that most libraries being built now ARE including different areas for different activities, and include a coffee bar, areas to sit and talk, children's areas, conference rooms that can be rented out. And longer hours.
Re What to name, I agree Newell library should be based on location; Newell or Rinconada.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by T
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Jebus, talk about your first world problems.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2013 at 12:06 am

And, all the while our young men and women in combat are giving their lives for us so we can argue about what to name a library. Get real, folks. I think you people there in "Paly Alty" need to rearrange your priorities. : (


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mitchell Park Library Neighbor
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 12, 2013 at 6:34 pm

To be serious for a moment the Palo Alto's libraries will have to comply with the new closing time of 10:30 PM to day break, the same as all Parks and Community Centers in Palo Alto. These closing times were voted on by Council about a month ago to keep the homeless from occupying City property 24 hours a day.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jan Riker
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 15, 2013 at 3:23 am

What's in a name? Why waste time on trivial matters. COMMUNITY CENTER LIBRARY... or keep Main Library name. Who cares?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 17, 2013 at 3:36 pm

My issue with the Main Library is not the name, but why it is being demolished in the first place, especially when you see the huge mess created by the same players at Mitchell Park Web Link
We're new to the area, arriving Christmas 2012 and my immediate impression of the old main libary was that it should have been a listed building, the architecture being a great example of mid-20th Century design. But was also wonderful to use, calm, relaxing, comfortable, and with genuine charm. I've used many public and university libraries over the years and the main library was the most pleasant of the lot, it felt as though you were visiting the awahnee hotel or an upscale friends living room.
imho what should have been done was a great deal of high tech updating, improved outdoor space and landscaping (like the downtown refurbishment) and leave an architectural masterpiece alone....... and it would have cost a 10th of the proposed development.
Each time I drive by the now part demolished structure it makes me quite upset to see this ongoing tragedy and money waste. Palo alto still has 2 quite charming libraries but the jewell in the crown is gone.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

I Told My Mom She's Dying
By Chandrama Anderson | 13 comments | 2,687 views

Grab a Bowl of Heaven soon in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 2,128 views

Quick Check List for UC Applications
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 1,488 views

Campaign Endorsements: Behind the Curtain
By Douglas Moran | 5 comments | 869 views

Mothers, daughters, books, and boxes
By Sally Torbey | 4 comments | 407 views