Library usage up during economic downturn | February 20, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - February 20, 2009

Library usage up during economic downturn

The county library reports an increase of nearly 10 percent in the number of library books, DVDs, CDs and videos checked out during the past year throughout the system. Attendance at library programs like small business workshops, book clubs, special performances and children's programs is also at an all-time high.

The Danville Library has an increasing number of patrons looking for help with their jobs searches, said Seng Lovan, Senior Community Library Manager.

"During the past few months, the computer docents - volunteers who provide two to four hours of assistance each week to help people with their computer needs - have been swamped," said Lovan.

Danville Library volunteer Duane Gates reports that many people are coming in to ask for help with starting an online job search or completing an online application.

"I have had numerous people sign up for an appointment to learn Excel because many positions now require some knowledge of the program," Grant said. "Others are looking for assistance in how to join professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn or how to submit resumes online."

The circulation statistics at some of the county's 25 community libraries, such as San Pablo and Antioch, have realized even greater increases of between 10 and 15 percent.

"During tough economic times, people turn to libraries for their incredible array of free resources, from computers to books, DVDs and CDs, for help with job hunting or health information," said Jim Rettig, president of the American Library Association (ALA). "The average annual cost to the taxpayer for access to this wide range of resources is about $31, the cost of one hardcover book. In good times or bad, libraries are a great value."

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