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July 1, 2009 > What are the Library and Friends doing?

What are the Library and Friends doing?

By Simon Wong

Hayward Library and the Friends of Hayward Library are raising their community profile.

Following the success of their "trial run" at the Hayward Farmers' Market on June 6, when books sold out in ten minutes and raised more than $400, the Friends now have a booth on the corner of C St and Watkins St, every other Saturday. This is in addition to their regular book sales

"We distributed brochures, met people, directed them to the Library, handed out bookmarks for the Summer Reading Program and boosted enrolment. When the Friends are not at the Farmers Market, the Library or Literacy Plus will be present. This will be good public relations for the Library and Friends," said City of Hayward Library Commissioner Judy Harrison.

"We need donations of paperback and hardback books in good condition, CDs, DVDs and newish magazines. We also accept old National Geographic and AAA maps. Foreign language books and magazines sell well, too," she appealed.

Local businesses help the Friends raise funds. Caribe Cafe, Hayward Blvd, is the latest outlet and sells an average of 40 second-hand books per week. Cal State East Bay also does the same selling teacher-oriented materials.

The Friends have contributed to the cost of a touch-screen, interactive learning center for the Children's Room and have welcomed Cherryland Elementary School Principal Nancy Evans to the Board.

Online services
Library customers can now pay their fees and fines online via the Library's website. The public perceives late returns and unpaid fines as obstacles to use of the Library. E-commerce affords "anonymity." Interim Director Sean Reinhart forecasts a 3%-4% increase in payment of fines in the first year of service. Staff will focus their extra time on other activities such as school outreach and after-school programs. From summer 2009, online donations will be possible.

Hayward Library is a founding member of the Pacific Library Partnership (PLP), a consortium of four library systems serving eight counties in and around the Bay Area. PLP has applied for a $20M grant from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act 2009 through the Broad Band Technology Opportunities Program.

The Library has tentatively earmarked its share of funding for three things. First. netbooks (small, inexpensive laptops) to satisfy public demand for computer use at the library. Customer credit card authorization may be required to ensure security of netbooks when loaned. Other security options are being considered. Second, high-definition, video-conference equipment. Third, radio frequency identification (RFID) to replace barcodes on inventory. RFID tags can be read through a pile of books, avoid the need to open book covers and will reduce the incidence of repetitive-motion injury. The pile can be scanned in one go. Returns can be scanned and sorted automatically without a librarian.

Fremont, Newark and Union City belong to the Alameda County Library Service which is part of BALIS (Bay Area Library & Information System), one of the four systems that make up PLP. The libraries in these cities are, therefore, part of the $20M stimulus funding application.

State funding ceased at the end of May for free senior computing classes, delivered by Hayward Adult School at the Main Library. The Friends have agreed to fund the program until the end of the year. In the meantime, the Library and Adult School seek other funding sources. If none is found by the end of 2009, the Friends will decide either to continue or withdraw funding.

Daily class attendance averages 15 people. This equates to more than 500 hours of teaching per quarter. Students, especially low- and fixed-income seniors, benefit greatly. They are in regular email contact with friends and family and can access services and information online that are difficult to reach in person.

The Library is a municipal service funded by the City of Hayward, grants and donations from individuals and the Friends. The passage of Measure A (utility user tax) on May 19 has avoided deeper funding cuts but how the state balances its budget could impact local government finances.

Library Commission
Commissioner Jessica Fields retires after two-terms. Her successor will be introduced at the Commission's next meeting on Monday, September 21.

For more information, visit

Library Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 11a.m. - 8p.m.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 10a.m. - 5p.m.
Closed Sundays

Hayward Main Library
835 C St (between Mission Blvd and Watkins St)
Hayward, CA 94541
Ph. 510 293 8685

Weekes Branch Library
27300 Patrick Ave (at Tennyson Rd)
Hayward, CA 94544
Ph. 510 782 2155


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