October/November 2010 Report

Library Director’s Report- October/November 2010

Welcome to our two new Board members, Stefanie Boicelli and Diane Belknap! And congratulations to Alex Schernig for his reappointment.

The annual 2009-2010 Library State Report was submitted. Highlights include:

  • 1,400 volunteers this past year tutored, helped kids and adults to read and learn, read to preschools, volunteered as Foundation members that helped raise $100,000 for new books, or as a Friend that helped raise funds for library programs.
  • Over 100,000 hours given by these volunteers, an equivalent of 48 full time staff!
  • 72,980 folks have a Redwood City library card, including 18,353 children.
  • Project READ, which again served more kids, families and adults than ever before this year, matched their library budget dollar per dollar with outside grants, effectively doubling their budget!
  • 47,555 books, movies and music were added to our libraries this year.
  • 1,768,237 items lent.
  • 165,591 folks attended one (and of course more!) of our library programs.
  • 751,000 sessions on one of our 154 public computers, 378,000 visits to the library web page, and another 100,000 using our Wi-Fi access.
  • 1,013,305 visits to one of our libraries this year.

These usage indicators, along with a few others, earned Redwood City Public Library a “Star” rating for the third consecutive year, making us one of the best libraries in the United States. See our annual report for comparisons and more information.

Staff is soliciting input from the Schaberg community to see if the reduced hour schedule is meeting needs. PRCS and the library are readying an afterschool program beginning in January. The potential program will provide activities and field trips, in a safe environment, for the many students that come to the library afterschool and remain there until their parents get off work. The library already offers homework assistance – the after school program will provide supplemental activities. This may help adjust the hours to Saturdays or later in the evening to accommodate working folks.

Redwood City Libraries and San Mateo County Libraries will be participating in a “Food for Fines” program. We will be collecting food for Second Harvest Food Bank. When customers donate food, their overdue fines and hold fees will be waived. One unit of food will waive the charges on one account. The program will run from Nov 15th through Dec 31st. Our goal is to help those in need and encourage customers to return long overdue material so that borrowing privilege can be re-instated. Only fines and fees for Redwood City and County items will be waived. Lost or damaged items, collection fee or printing fees are not included.

The Downtown Library’s Teen Center is proving to be an effective and popular program. 50-100 teens use the teen center on a daily basis, and all tables, study rooms, and chairs are full with students often working together on homework and group projects; the 21 computers in the teen center are well used with most computers full on a daily basis; there are 4 weekly programs with additional special monthly programs; teen volunteers are able to help with shelving, displays, posters, and leading teen programs; two vending machines provide healthy options for the teens after school snacks; teens are able to check out a variety of board games that provide additional critical thinking, math practice as well as building a sense of community; and dedicated staff help teens with their homework and make referrals to Project READ and other Library and City programs that teens may benefit from or be interested in joining. Staff members know the teens by name and are available to help the students succeed in school through help with their homework. The teen center staff takes a holistic approach to the students, and try to help teens on an individual basis and pay attention to the areas the teens excel in.

Project READ’s 21st Annual Trivia BEE was a great success!  This year’s foot-stomping, fun loving event wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors Dave Genesy and the Redwood City Friends of Literacy.  Thanks also to the library staff who contributed the fabulous trivia questions that stumped the best minds in the Bay Area and to the over 70 volunteers who helped with every aspect of the event.

  • Chuck Ashton, recently retired children’s librarian and “Pied Piper of Redwood City,” was honored at the Trivia BEE with the Fueling the Fire of Hope award. Chuck has brought the love of literature and lifelong learning to so many of our children and families over the years. As an advocate for literacy, he touches every heart with his enthusiasm and positive view of learning and reading. While any of these would be noteworthy, it is his generosity of spirit in sharing these qualities so freely with those around him that make him so inspiring. Chuck deeply believes in the library and literacy, but it is clear that the people he serves are of the utmost importance to him. He genuinely cares for this community and is an incredible role model for our children and their parents. Chuck truly fuels the fire of hope in everyone he meets.
  • Hannah Hamely received a Spirit of Project READ award at the Trivia BEE. Hannah, a senior at Sequoia High School, has contributed countless hours of outstanding community service as a teen tutor in the Kids In Partnership program. Her enthusiasm for learning and her willingness to share her time and talents have transformed the lives of many KIP students. Her impact is especially apparent on her longtime student, Moises. Under Hannah’s guidance, Moises has grown into a thoughtful, confident and academically successful fifth grader. However, Hannah’s influence does not end there. This year, Moises has followed in Hannah’s footsteps by becoming a tutor himself. When asked why he wanted to be a tutor, his response was, “I want to help first graders the way Hannah helped me.”
  • Carol Phelan and Mamie Winters were also honored with Spirit of Project READ awards. Carol and Mamie have been going strong as a tutor/learner pair for 4 years. Because of Carol’s dedication and Mamie’s persistence, Mamie has improved 6 levels since they started working together. Growing up, Mamie could only go to school when it rained and was too wet to work in the fields. Now Mamie reads 4 or 5 books a week! Mamie is a hard worker, and Carol is an amazing tutor. They truly exemplify the spirit of Project READ.

Author visits, concerts, Dia de la Muerta and Halloween costume parades (800 kids!), along with our regular storytimes, brought thousands of adults, youth and families into our libraries these past two months. With the addition of the Shores Library’s children’s librarian, school classes are regularly visiting the library for storytelling and library instruction; in addition, an expanded number of weekly storytimes for families and large monthly programs have been implemented. One such program is the monthly educational and hands-on Marine Science Institute visit. Last month, the presenters from MSI were very pleased with the audience turnout and were impressed by the library, and especially by the Interpretive Center.

Last month’s collaborative author event at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center was a great success, beautifully organized by all PLS libraries. Author Michael Chabon in conversation with Brad Friedman drew in an impressive crowd, especially considering the competition – Giants Playoffs. The level of conversation on Kavalier and Clay was pretty deep, as was the discussion of the comics scene, and the Golem. Hundreds of hands went up when Brad Friedman asked the audience how many people had read the book…and its 639 pages long!

Fresh & Natural is looking for a replacement operator to take over the Redwood Shores Library café and, if they cannot find one, it will close at the end of December.

The library eBook services are constantly changing. Here is a quick summary of what’s going on:

  • Overdrive and MyiLibrary have overlapping titles, and thus we are duplicating ordering efforts. MyiLibrary had its place when it was the only iPod and iPad compatible service, but now Overdrive is too. Overdrive has twice the number of titles and three times the usage of MyiLibrary. We will be dropping MyiLibrary in January.
  • We are dropping out of the N. CA Califa overdrive platform as of August 2011. This means that PLS will be ordering our own eBooks and downloadable audio books. We will use our ceased MyiLibrary funds to build this collection up.
  • PLS is establishing a procedure for libraries to build their own collections within the shared catalog so that only patrons of owning libraries can check out materials. As of right now, we need to build up our collection as a group, and then look into what we want to buy separately.
  • We have plans to buy books for the Kindle and try a patron loan program of the loaded device. It’s a bit on the backburner due to time constraints.
  • Also we will be training staff on how to use the devices so that they become familiar with the technology.
  • The library role in this market is still nebulous, but there is talk of non-single-title-ownership of eBooks (kind of like database subscriptions), which makes much more sense. Patrons don’t understand limited access to digital content.
  • Baker and Taylor has a really snazzy new e-reader software platform. PLS is going to pursue getting a demo in the coming months.
  • eBooks, and downloadable media in general, is an important and looming area for libraries to begin to innovate in and place their focus on.

Two stories:

Spontaneous Halloween fun occurred when one of your Youth Librarians was coming back from the Post Office, and bumped into the kids from the daycare on their way to City Hall to show off and trick-or-treat, so they were immediately invited to the library for an impromptu Halloween storytime. Everyone got a treat, too, since the librarians always buy a little bit of extra candy for the Halloween program – in case of emergency, of course. NOT so they can have Kit Kats till Christmas.

And one of our more trouble-some teens, one who has been removed from Sequoia High School, had a very honest discussion with Project READ staff about the choices he has in life. He is now matched with a first grader to tutor! He has done a complete turn-a-round in attitude; and to see this very rough looking kid become very nervous before he meets his first grader, is a sight to see! We will share his very positive activities with his new teacher and principal at Redwood High.



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