Library sees surge in usage

Director says residents are looking for ways to save money in tough economic times

If the library has seemed a little more inhabited than it used to, your suspicions are correct.

Pleasanton's only library, located at 400 Old Bernal Ave., has seen an uptick in visits, checkouts, questions at the reference desk and applications for new library cards. And library administrators believe it's due to the worsening economic situation.

It's a trend that's been experienced across the country and has been seen historically--when there's a recession, library usage surges. And there could be a number of specific reasons that residents are utilizing the library to lessen the blow to their pocketbooks.

"From our impression, people are looking for an inexpensive method of looking for a job, improving their finances, entertainment with their family, books to read, a lot of things," said library director Julie Farnsworth. "They may be commuting farther, so they may be looking for a book on CD. Or, they're staying home more instead of traveling, so they're looking for things to do at places that are nearby."

"We have waiting lists sometimes for the newer DVDs," Farnsworth added. "We get them as soon as the video stores do."

Comparing December 2008 from December 2007, the increases are apparent. Library visits were up 13.6 percent, checkouts 17.4 percent, new library cards 6.2 percent and reference questions 47.1 percent.

The library has 18 public computers, nearly 170,000 books, 16,400 DVDs and videos, 8,100 e-books and 12,700 music and audio book CDs. There are also 39 paid online databases and 354 magazine subscriptions available to patrons.

When it comes to families, the library has a multitude of programs. More than 5,000 children participate in the library's toddler lap time and preschool story time programs. Children's materials account for more than half of all the circulation materials and the library played host to 54 school field trips last year.

College preparatory seminars, science programs and author lectures are also offered.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2009 at 9:08 am

Looks like the library is suitable for the Yogi Berra quote: "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded".

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ptown Family
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 3, 2009 at 9:15 am

The Pleasanton Library has always been a great asset to this great city!

The librarians are great with the kids. They respond quickly to requests for materials not in their system.

The online requests for recent DVD releases is basically a free Netflix! You might not know what you are going to get this week, but chances are you'll have a new release or you can go and pick you from their large selection.

Music choices are good (although I wish they did more to index/sort them for more efficient searching for a specific title or artist) and can save the kiddos on their iTunes budget.

The weekend performances and seminars are also a great opportunity for anyone in the area.

Thanks City of Pleasanton!

 +   Like this comment
Posted by erryja
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Mar 3, 2009 at 10:50 am

Since this great resource is becoming a service that is helping the community, perhaps the upgrades (plan A) should be considered to help serve people in time of need.
This has to be a high priority of the city managers.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by V.Venkatesan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2009 at 11:23 am

The libraray is one of Pleasanton's greatest and most cost-effective assets. While public sector expenses,including the city, need to be scrutinised and held in check in this depression, the library has to be one of the top uses for the city budget.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Library Fan
a resident of Amador Estates
on Mar 4, 2009 at 10:41 am

The increase most likely corresponds to Debbie Campson leaving the Amador Library ;)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 4, 2009 at 10:53 am

I think that the amazon kindle is more fun to visit if you're truly interested in reading.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Freebie
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 4, 2009 at 5:52 pm

If you know where to get a kindle for free along with the downloads, let me know.

The point is the services and materials of the library are free to anyone in our community.

You don't have to own a book to read it. You don't have to own a high-priced machine to read a book. Wanting the latest and greatest gadgets is part of our countries problem, whether it's kindle to read a book or a $2,000 TV to see a sitcom that is the same story as the 13" in my house.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mona
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2009 at 10:02 pm

My late fees were so bad I stopped checking books out at the library and now buy used off Amazon. It would help if they had a little pocket on the inside back blank page where a card slips in with the due date stamped on it. It doesn't mar the covers of the book, it's on the inside. I've seen many libraries back east with this. You can actually tell when the book is due by looking inside. Here, they give you a little slip of paper with the due date that slips away pretty quickly. What's the deal?

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Freebie
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 4, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Our family receives email notices when a book or DVD is due. We are able to renew 2 times online if the item hasn't been requested by someone else. This helps us keep on top of the fines.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Big mike
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Mar 4, 2009 at 11:06 pm

(Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2009 at 11:59 pm

(Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)

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