As people are cutting back on expenses, the Galt and Lodi libraries have seen an increase in people checking out videos, CDs and, of course, books.
But another trend has been a bit more unexpected: People are turning to libraries for help with résumés and filling out unemployment forms and job applications.
Part of the demand stems from the fact that many state agencies and companies no longer offer paper forms, instead assuming that people can pull them off the Internet. Those without Internet access have few options on where to fill out forms for unemployment, job applications, health services and even taxes, Lodi Public Library supervising librarian Andrea Woodruff said.
"It's a perfect storm," Woodruff said.
More people are enrolling in workshops on résumé writing. Check-outs for test training booklets are up. And more people are asking librarians for help filling out the long, complicated unemployment forms.
"As the state and feds shut down offices, we are the place people can go to talk about a problem," Lodi librarian Sandra Smith said.
Throughout the nation, libraries have seen an upswing in people coming in. In 2008, 68 percent of Americans had a library card, which is up 5 percent from 2006, according to the American Library Association.
At the Galt Marian O. Lawrence Library, the increase in patrons has not gone unnoticed.
"We usually have our regulars come in, but we are seeing a lot of new faces," Galt Library Supervisor Diane Christensen said.
The Galt library has seen a 7.3 percent increase in the number of visits in the past year. There were 12,917 visits in 2008.
"The library is always a popular destination. Everyone is looking for more value and how to make do when money is stretched thin," Sacramento Public Library spokesman Don Burns said.
Because the Lodi library has moved to a temporary location at 212 W. Pine St., it has been hard to count the number of patrons. But there has been about a 5 percent increase in the amount of library materials people are checking out, Library Services Director Nancy Martinez said.
Librarians have been busy helping older people who have been laid off fill out employment applications. Smith said she has heard that some area businesses, including grocery store chains, encourage possible job candidates to fill out applications online, and suggest the library as a place to do that.
Also, in past years, the library had paper copies of tax forms for people to fill out if they didn't receive them in the mail. But this year, the federal and state governments have told libraries to just have their patrons do it online, Woodruff said.
"We are a society dependent on computer access," she said. "If you don't have a computer or access to one, you'll be in a world of hurt."
At the same time, check-outs have increased as people are looking for cheaper entertainment.
Galt Library Services Assistant Debi Graham said she had a couple come in looking for a book they were originally going to purchase for $25.
Laura Soto, who was on one of her first trips to the Lodi library in early February, said one of her friends encouraged her to go. She mainly uses the library for books and the Internet.
"With the economy, who can afford to go buy books?" Soto said. "I never knew you could do all of this."
For Kim McMahan, the economy doesn't make a difference because she has always taken her triplets to the Galt library. While 5-year-olds Madison, Austin and Cole sat on the floor with books, McMahan explained that they have started memorizing the words in the books at home.
"I can't afford the books for all these kids with all different interests," she said.
Lodi Public Library services
- To reserve a computer for work or play, call the circulation
desk at 333-5566 or the Computer Learning Center at
- Find free entertainment on the library's list of events,
exhibitions and book clubs. The library participates in the Art Hop
and has special programs for adult literacy and small business and
- For teens getting ready for college, there are links on the
library's Web site on how to get into a college and how to finance
- Those with home Internet access can also search for books and
other library items anywhere at http://www.lodi.gov/library. The
Web site also has more detail on all the services offered.
Galt Marian O. Lawrence Library servicesGalt's library members have access to all the services offered in the Sacramento Public Library. These include:
- MoneySmart: A series of workshops on how to invest
- Book Bulletin: An e-mail or blog feed on what the librarians
are reading, listening to and watching.
- Listing of events and exhibitions at all the libraries in
- Download Internet books, movies and music. The items will
appear on the user's computer and then disappear when the
subscription period is over.
To find out information on any of these services, go to www.saclibrary.org.
For more information about Galt's library, call 916-264-2700 or 800-209-4627.
Renovations for the Lodi Public LibraryAfter closing in December, the Lodi Public Library staff is anticipating renovations will be complete by early May. Right now, the library is at a temporary location at 212 W. Pine St.
Most of the work to remove carpeting, tile and flooring is done, Library Services Director Nancy Martinez said. A new ramp and railings that meet the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act has been installed.
The equipment for the new heating and cooling system is working and being tested right now, supervising librarian Andrea Woodruff said. All the tiling in the four public restrooms and the front entryway has been completed.
The next steps will be adding carpet to part of the library and new flooring in the work and administration rooms.