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.