Let's Save the Riverside Library
The Austin City Manager has proposed shutting down the Riverside Drive branch of the Austin Library. Unless the City Council acts to prevent it, Riverside will close its doors forever on October 1.
Out of 21 Austin Public Library facilities, only two serve the south-eastern quadrant of the city. Riverside is one of them. Its primary service area is east of I-35, from Town Lake all the way down to Ben White Blvd. This is one of the most densely populated areas of Austin.
Closing Riverside will not lower taxes. Instead, the money will be used to operate new libraries in the outlying suburbs. While we support improved library service for developing areas of Austin -- there has to be a fairer way to fund them.
The City says that Riverside should be closed because: it is underutilized, other branches are nearby, and it is in a leased facility.
Riverside is not underutilized. It is busy and active. It has higher circulation than the four branches closest to it -- double the circulation of some of them.
Riverside is the only library facility convenient to residents in its area. The closest facilities are all across either I-35 or the Colorado River. Riverside is in a busy commercial district. Many of its patrons arrive on bus, foot, and bicycle. Many make visiting the library part of their daily errands. These people will not be able to obtain service at another branch.
Nobody is happy that Riverside is a rental facility, least of all the people who use it. The solution is to give it a permanent home, not tear it down. If the City had fulfilled its obligation to do so, this wouldn't be an issue.
We need to demonstrate to the City Council that Austin values its neighborhood libraries, and we support Riverside. If we show we care, they may act to save it.
Please sign our petition.
Please contact the City Council by phone, letter, or email.
There will be a public hearing in front of the City Council on Monday, September 8. It will be from 3pm to 9pm in Council Chambers at 307 W. 2nd Street. This will be our opportunity to make our case. If you can, please attend. If you are willing, please speak.