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Additional hours at library a step in the right direction

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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Know and Go:

Twelve Bridges Library is at 485 Twelve Bridges Drive.

Info: 434-2410 or libraryatlincoln.org

 

Betty Gordon, always cheerful, is even happier since June 28.

The reason her smile is just a bit brighter, if that’s possible, is because the Lincoln City Council added eight hours that the library will be open weekly during fiscal year 2016-17.

Residents have regularly asked city officials for more library hours ever since the Twelve Bridges Library decreased 38 hours a week in 2008 to 27 hours and the Carnegie Library closed in 2011 because of budget cuts.

Gordon, an active Friends of the Lincoln Library member, is one of the Twelve Bridges Library’s biggest advocates.

The Lincoln resident of 16 years is also the Mother Goose in the Friends-sponsored Mother Goose on the Loose program for five-plus years. Mother Goose on the Loose is a free program offered 10:30 and 11:30 Thursdays (except the third Thursday of the month). Infants to 4 year olds hear nursery rhymes, march and play instruments, and learn how to take directions through games and music. The first session regularly fills up with 100 children and adults, and the second session fills up with another 50-plus children and adults. 

“It’s just fantastic,” Gordon said.

In addition to sharing nursery rhymes as Mother Goose with the tots, Gordon is at the library at least another two or three days a week picking out books for herself. Gordon reads three books a week for fun.

“I just love reading. My step-grandpa read to me,” Gordon said. “I can remember when he read ‘Bambi’ to me. I was 5 and he would take the time to read to me. It just grew from there.”

What does an additional eight library hours a week mean to Gordon?

“It means more satisfied people coming to the library and that always reflects well on the number of programs offered,” Gordon said. “As for me, I’m just happy because I can visit the library more often and I can get out more books. It means an overall very positive feeling for people to know that our library is there for them and that the library staff cares for its patrons. The computers are up and running. So many people in our community can’t afford a computer of their own so they depend on using the library’s computers. This is a computer age.”

Library staff now is asking patrons to answer a questionnaire on what extra hours to add. Currently, the library is open from 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Three of those weekly hours are paid for by the nonprofit Friends of the Lincoln Library.

Thanks to the city budget approved June 28, library hours soon increase from 23 hours to 31 hours a week.

That’s a big step forward in getting the Twelve Bridges Library hours back up to the full hours offered when the library first opened in 2007.

And that’s just in time for the library’s summer influx of young children and preteens.

“During the summer reading program sponsored by the Friends, young children are going home with stacks of books. In other words, they’re reading instead of being on the computer,” Gordon said. “I’m an old lady and I love libraries and I love to read. I love Mother Goose on the Loose because even the smallest child who doesn’t know what a book is gets introduced to a book by looking at it, turning the pages. It’s a win-win for everyone this summer. I’m so glad the City Council has added eight hours.”

Shirley Russell is the library’s other biggest advocate. The former elementary school teacher to hundreds of Lincoln residents has served in every office for the Friends of the Lincoln Library and often asks City Council to give the library more funds so that hours can be increased.

 “These extra hours are a good thing, absolutely; the library is more accessible for people to get to the library with more open hours,” Russell said. “In the heat during the summer and the cold during the winter, it’s a sanctuary for people. It’s more than just a library.”

The Twelve Bridges Library opened as a collaboration between the city of Lincoln, Western Placer Unified School District and Sierra College. The city’s Carnegie Library in downtown Lincoln was still open but closed in June 2011, due to city budget cuts.

Adding eight hours to the library is a great start to making the Twelve Bridges Library become accessible again to all residents. Hopefully, next year, Lincoln City Council will continue to add hours to Twelve Bridges Library and start seriously planning how to reopen the Carnegie Library.

“If anyone came to the library on Wednesdays and Thursdays and saw the excitement of the kids picking up books, these are our future readers and they are our future,” Russell said. “They’re the ones who are going to lead our country. Youngsters can’t learn to read as well on an iPad.”

Carol Feineman can be reached at 774-7972 or carolf@goldcountrymedia.com.