Redwood City library checked out 

Use of the Fair Oaks Library jumped more than 40 percent in the past year, causing books to literally fly off shelves.

To help increase the number of materials such as books, movies and music, the Redwood City Library Foundation is working to raise $250,000 for the branch to be used toward supplies.

“The shelves really look empty because the materials are flying off so fast,” said Georgi LaBerge, executive director of the library foundation. “Many people want to work on their language skills. There is a wait list for the audio tapes.”

LaBerge said the branch library’s circulation has increased nearly 45 percent in the past year.

“That’s an enormous increase,” she said. “It’s mostly due to people looking for jobs or fathers out of work coming to spend time with their kids.”

Redwood City Library Director Dave Genesy said during a down economy, circulation at all libraries increases.

“It’s also when our budget’s squeezed the most,” he said. “It’s a challenge; we’re doing all we can to provide the same service.”

Fair Oaks is the smallest branch of the four Redwood City venues, with just 27,000 library materials in a 32,000-square-foot building. In December, Fair Oaks had an estimated 13,490 units borrowed, compared to 7,100 units one year earlier.

The branch serves the southeastern area of Redwood City, which has a large Hispanic population.

The library needs bilingual children’s books to cater to its population, Genesy said.

Fair Oaks is jointly run with San Mateo County, Genesy said, but it falls under Redwood City operations.

With a budget of $6.5 million for the four libraries — there are also branches downtown, in the Redwood Shores community and in Schaberg, off Eulich Avenue — Genesy said he expects some sort of reduction this fiscal year. All of Redwood City is facing a $4.4 million reduction.

Genesy said he and his staff would have little time to raise money if the foundation did not volunteer to do so on their behalf.

LaBerge said the foundation believes in the importance of libraries and works to keep them in communities.

“They help educate citizens of the world,” she said. “We know that children and adults who access the free services of our libraries really benefit.”

The foundation has already raised $110,000 for Fair Oaks with community and corporate sponsors. She said the foundation will host a silent and live auction Feb. 25 at the Fair Oaks Library, 2510 Middlefield Road.

 

Heavy circulation

Fair Oaks Library saw a substantial increase in the number of materials borrowed in the past year.

  2008 2009
July 8,052 12,164
August 6,740 11.292
September 6,297 10,199
October 7,430 10,218
November 6,991 10,403
December 7,100 13,490

Source: Redwood City Library

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