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Laurene Weste: Live From City Hall

Posted: January 26, 2013 10:43 a.m.
Updated: January 26, 2013 10:43 a.m.

The recently-released Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, "Library Services in the Digital Age," surveyed 2,252 Americans ages 16 and older between Oct.15 and Nov. 10 of last year, and concluded that even in the digital age, libraries continue to serve a variety of functions, with nearly 60 percent of respondents having had some kind of interaction with a library in the last 12 months, and 91 percent saying that "public libraries are important to their communities."

Public libraries have been around for centuries as portals to the world’s knowledge and today, they are an essential part of communities.

Santa Clarita is extremely fortunate to have three libraries that continue to grow and offer residents a wealth of information, thanks to a variety of resources, diverse programs and active volunteers.

The Santa Clarita Public Library is committed to promoting literacy, education and a love of learning through innovative programs and services.

Library programming and events not only help educate community members about the numerous resources available at each library, but also engage residents through reading, writing and fun activities.

One of the reasons the Santa Clarita Public Library is able to provide a vibrant, active experience for our visitors is due to the Friends of the Santa Clarita Library, a non-profit organization which advocates, fundraises, and provides critical support for the library and its literary and educational programs.

The Friends group serves to foster positive relationships between the library and our community while promoting reading and literacy to shape the library’s future; and as they celebrate their first year as an active group, the Friends continue to flourish.

Since its inception, the Friends group has raised more than $70,000 and helped provide the City with a strong foundation on which to develop and grow library services in the coming years.

Money raised was used to fund many programs supported by the Friends this past year including the 2012 Summer Reading program, Hobbit-themed events, holiday special programming and three successful author events.

The Friends also played an integral part in preparing for the new Old Town Newhall Library grand opening in September 2012.

During the opening festivities, the Friends organized a kid-friendly treasure hunt around the new 30,000 square foot facility and gave away 1,000 commemorative backpacks to guests.

If you missed any of those free events, have no fear because there are plenty more scheduled in 2013.

For example, in a few weeks the Friends will kick off 2013 with two new free author visits that residents of all ages will enjoy.

On Thursday, Feb. 7, the Old Town Newhall Library will welcome comedic author Tess Rafferty at 7 p.m. and national best-selling author Attica Locke, who will be at the Valencia Library at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16.

For more information about library events taking place this year, visit

Creative workshops like the aforementioned author events are part of a series of engaging activities funded by the Friends of the Santa Clarita Library as a way to encourage lifelong learning and imaginative thinking. The Friends also host book signings, participate at community events and collaborate with library staff to provide a wide variety of programs of interest to Santa Clarita residents. The group also operates individual book sales at each library branch, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Santa Clarita Public Library.

In the upcoming year, the Friends group will continue to sponsor new, upcoming events and programming at the Santa Clarita Public Library branches including Old Town Newhall, Canyon Country and Valencia. For more information about library events taking place this year, please visit

The Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library is invaluable to the city and remains vital to the success and existence of our three library branches.

Currently there are 105 members, and that number continues to grow because the Friends are always accepting membership from residents who wish to invest in the success of the Library through volunteering.

As members, the Friends group provides an excellent opportunity for residents to offer leadership and volunteerism through the three local library branches.

For more information about how to join, contact, call 661-259-8942, or visit

Laurene Weste is the Mayor Pro-tem for the City of Santa Clarita and can be reached at


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