President's Message

As you will read elsewhere, there are changes in Library staffing.

Bidding goodbye to Jan Metzler is difficult. We will all miss the Senior Librarian who left Encino-Tarzana to open Platt Branch in 1995. Jan and Friends members have surmounted many obstacles and shared many successes in the intervening 8Ĺ years. (It seems like just yesterday that Platt's parking lot was finally expanded.) Her transfer came as a complete surprise to the Board, and we formally registered our dismay and disappointment about losing her to the Board of Library Commissioners and to City Librarian Susan Kent (for full text, see The Letter, below). We quickly learned that any clout Friends groups have does not extend to City personnel transfer matters. We can only hope that the move will work to Jan's long-term benefit and career path as well as to the LAPL system. She will be missed.

On the other hand, we want to provide a warm welcome to Lynn Light, who takes over as the Senior Librarian at Platt. Lynn has lots of library experience from different venues, and the Board looks forward to working with her.

Security Issues

Although administrative issues have to be Lynn's first concern, she has made curbing disruptive middle schoolers a priority. Soon after she arrived, she arranged another meeting with Hale officials and reports that school and library administrations have moved a bit further on establishing more realistic legal guidelines. She is continuing to press for expanded LAPL security presence, as well.

Upcoming programs

Program Chair Frona DeCovnick has two excellent programs lined up for the fall and spring General Meetings. Elma Hovanessian, the author of the historical novel Under the Blue Dome, will be the guest speaker on Thursday, November 13. Don't miss this opportunity to learn more about Iran's turbulent transition from a monarchy to a theocracy from someone who lived through it. The Thursday, February 19 meeting will feature a presentation on Women in Aviation in honor of Women in History month.

Our Third Annual Children's Holiday Boutique will be held on Saturday, December 6. Organized this year by our new Vice President for Fundraising, Lyall Thompson, it will be an hour longer and promises to be even more fun than last year's. Volunteers for the gift-creation workshops in November are welcome to sign-up now.

And so, although jolted, life at Platt Branch picks itself up and moves on. Call on me tomorrow, you'll find a more cheerful man.

Terry Haney, President

The Letter…

Dear President McCoy:

The Friends of the Platt Library were shocked and dismayed to learn recently of the imminent transfer of Senior Librarian Jan Metzler from Platt to the Van Nuys Branch. We protest the action and view it as detrimental to the interests of the community that has wholeheartedly supported the Platt Branch since its opening in 1995.† We would like to pursue other options for resolving any problems that may exist at the Branch and look forward to meeting with the Board of Library Commissioners and the staff for that purpose.

Many in the community worked tirelessly for over 30 years to support the building of a branch library in our growing neighborhood.† When Platt finally opened in April of 1995, the community responded with an outpouring of support that is virtually unprecedented in Los Angeles. We discovered that we were fortunate that the Library Department assigned Senior Librarian Jan Metzler to open and grow the library.† Ms. Metzler has fostered a positive relationship with the Friends, many other community groups, and the community at large.† She is particularly sensitive to the communityís needs and wishes.

During the past eight years, the Friends has grown to over 500 members.† The branch has over 100 community volunteers contributing over 9000 hours a year in volunteer service.† The Friends has contributed approximately $250,000 to the Platt Branch for books, programs, equipment and even reupholstering the furniture.† We have a significant reserve currently and await approval of our next project, providing security cameras to stem the reoccurring theft and vandalism the library has experienced.

Perhaps we have been remiss in not expressing our appreciation for the supportive relationship we have experienced under Ms. Metzlerís leadership.† It is because of this positive climate that so much has been possible.† We have been told innumerable times that patrons prefer to come to Platt because of the friendly and helpful staff.† Volunteers welcome the opportunity to serve in all capacities from reading to children to cleaning the grease off the patio and walkways.†

We believe that Ms. Metzlerís transfer will send a negative signal to our community and further, will dampen the enthusiasm of the Friends and volunteers.† The Platt Library has just emerged from a prolonged period of serving multiple communities during the rebuilding of the neighboring libraries.† As one of the few libraries open for over two years in the West San Fernando Valley, the branch was stretched to serve not just our local community, but many others. Under Jan Metzlerís strong and effective leadership, this was accomplished with the positive outcome that now many more know of the superlative service available at Platt. We are in the process of mitigating an on-going situation with Hale Middle School and fear the loss of momentum in this area will acerbate the problem.

We are not aware of the circumstances that may have motivated staff to propose Ms. Metzlerís transfer.† As volunteers at the branch, we are not privy to the administration of it Ė nor should we be.† However, we do know that there are likely to be any number of alternative remedies to any situation. By this letter we are notifying you and the staff that the transfer will have a detrimental effect on the Platt Branch and hope you take that into consideration.

We know that the Board of Library Commissioners has worked very hard to provide an exemplary library system for the residents of Los Angeles.† In keeping with that mission, we urge you to reverse the decision to transfer Senior Librarian Jan Metzler from the Platt Branch Library and work to meet the needs of the Platt community.

Sincerely,

Terrence Haney, President
Friends of the Platt Library

  

Sharon Schuster, Former President
Board of Civil Service Commissioners

cc: 

City Librarian Susan Kent
Mayor James Hahn
Controller Laura Chick
Councilman Dennis Zine
Woodland Hills-Warner Center Neighborhood Council
West Hills Neighborhood Council
West Hills Homeowners Association
Senior Librarian Jan Metzler

 
The Friends of the Platt Library Newsletter is produced and maintained by Hearn/Perrell Art Associates. Editor: Therese Hearn
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