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Library a bargain
Stanislaus County Librarian Vanessa Czopek touted the benefits of the library in a bad economy when she made her recent annual visit to the Ceres City Council.

"People are actively seeking out the library more than ever," said Czopek, who wanted councilmembers to "spread the word about the value of the library."

Czopek said the library is saving Ceres and Stanislaus County residents money by reading magazines instead of subscribing to them, as well as video rentals and book purchases.

"The need for our services goes up in a poor economy," she said.

Others are receiving assistance from library staff in developing resumes for job hunts. Some are learning Spanish through library materials as a way of improving job skills. Czopek said she had a letter from one parent who called the library a "haven from trouble" for her daughter

She noted that Ceres can do better at raising the percentage of Ceres residents who own library cards. Czopek said that 20,381 cards are issued to Ceres residents, or 47.4 percent of the city. The countywide average is 61 percent, she said.

Czopek took the occasion to politick for renewal of the eighth-cent sales tax which will come before voters in June 2012. The current tax revenue supplies 85 percent of the county library's funding. The library is doing without $1 million in revenues from the recent revenue cuts inflicted at the county level. She said there were "no easy cuts" to make up for the loss in revenue and noted that each branch sustained cuts in hours of operation by one day per week.

Despite the loss of revenue, the county continue to make improvements at local branches and added wireless internet available at each site.

Ceres Librarian Amy Taylor also gave a run-down of the current programs offered locally to spark readership. One such recent program, "Cover to Cover Club" targeted 4- to 12-year-olds to read books to earn certificates for free burgers.