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Laurie Ender: A new public-library chapter in Santa Clarita

Posted: June 25, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 25, 2011 1:55 a.m.
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“The richest person in the world — in fact all the riches in the world — couldn’t provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library.”                 —Malcolm Forbes

Public libraries are often referred to as the “people’s university” because they are a rich community resource available to anyone regardless of age, income, or level of education.

In Santa Clarita, the three local library branches are an integral part of our community.

According to a recent local survey from about 2,900 residents, about 6-in-10 people said they had visited a library or bookmobile within the past month. Additionally, more than half of survey respondents reported visiting a library anywhere from daily to several times a month.

Celebratory grand re-openings will be hosted on July 1, for the Canyon Country Library at 10 a.m. and the Newhall Library at 2 p.m., with the Valencia Library July 5 at 10 a.m.

In anticipation of opening day, the city has spent $900,000 on new materials for the libraries, including books, magazines, DVDs, CDs and other media to assure that the opening day collection is robust.  Under the city’s new public-library system, patrons will have access to over 1.1 million titles, which is an additional 90,000 more titles than under the current system.  Additionally, the city budgeted a substantial annual expenditure, reflecting an increase of 67 percent for the acquisition of new materials for our libraries every year. 

Library service hours have also been increased by nearly 22 percent at the Canyon Country and Newhall branches, which will both be open on Sundays. This increases service hours, making all three branches open on Sunday and opening the Canyon Country branch at 9 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. 

In addition to a vast increase in books, media, service days and hours, library patrons will also see familiar faces as many current library employees chose to remain at the local libraries.

For city property owners, the operation of the local libraries will also include a reduction in their annual property-tax bill.

The provision of excellent library services in our community is a top priority for our city. Our local libraries will have the benefit of a new partnership with LSSI, a professional library-management company that currently provides services to 13 public-library systems and 63 branch operations across the country, including the Library of Congress.

Through this management contract, LSSI will provide the day-to-day management services for our libraries with experienced and credentialed employees at the three local branches. One of those new employees is City Librarian Ed Kieczykowski, who brings 30 years of public library management experience, and who recently managed one of the largest library systems in California for 17 years.

The Santa Clarita Public Library system is a municipal system, under the ownership, management, budget and leadership of the city of Santa Clarita.  The Canyon Country, Newhall and Valencia branches will be municipal libraries, owned and operated by the city, and free and open to the public. 

To obtain a new, free city of Santa Clarita Public Library card, fill out at online application at SantaClaritaLibrary.com or visit any of the city’s three library branches after July 1.

For more information about the new Santa Clarita Public Library System contact the City’s library hotline at (661) 286-4055 or visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com.

Laurie Ender is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at: lender@santa-clarita.com.

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