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Why the Library needs friends like us — still

Friends of the Lincoln Library column
By: Lora Finnegan Special to The News Messenger
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Lincoln’s handsome, spacious and state-of-the-art Twelve Bridges Library celebrates its fifth birthday this Saturday, Oct. 20.
In 2007, the new library’s opening was a point of pride for the city, covered by a 10-page insert in The Lincoln News Messenger.
For five years now, the library has served children who need help with homework and access to lots of books so they can learn to love reading and reach their full educational potential; seniors who need computer access and a safe, quiet place to read; adults who need job search and resume help (see the Fifth Birthday slide show inside the library).
The difference between then and now?
Then, the new library was fully open and staffed (open 38 hours a week with 10.5 FTE —full-time equivalent— staffers). Now, the Twelve Bridges Library is open just 23 hours a week with 2.9 FTE staffers.
The Twelve Bridges facility has no full-time staff members (and, lest we forget, the downtown Carnegie Library has been shuttered). These devastating changes occurred because library funding has been cut by some 63 percent since 2007.
Yes, we’re grateful that the Twelve Bridges Library is at least open and operating —thanks to the commitment of the City Council, city administration, Sierra College, Western Placer Unified School District and the Friends. Is it everything we want or need? No. Friends of the Lincoln Library believe Lincoln deserves more.
We understand that most city departments have had to cut back and we appreciate all the city has done to keep Lincoln solvent.
But think of all the citizens the library still serves: children, seniors and adults. Add to that the fact that, for many, the library is one of the most important sources of free recreation. That’s a lot for one city facility to accomplish on, essentially, half rations.
That’s why the Friends buy new books, DVDs, CDs, and software programs for the library. It’s why the Friends pay to keep Mother Goose on the Loose a free-to-the-public program (which also keeps the library open an additional three hours per week).
And it is why we also fund Read for the Record, Read Across America, Summer Reading and Free Movie Night. Further, many Lincolnites volunteer their time to sort and shelve books.

Helping bridge the gap of funding cuts
We thank the City Council for naming October as Friends of the Lincoln Library Month in recognition of our efforts. And we urge them to re-open the Carnegie and return full operating hours to the Twelve Bridges libraries as soon as possible.
Until then, the Friends are committed to continuing our library support. But we can’t do much without your help. You fellow Lincolnites understand how vital a library is to the city’s educational system and to the life of a community.
That’s why our Donations Envelope campaign is essential. Giving any amount will help and be truly appreciated. You can help keep programs available to the kids, adults, and seniors of our community and keep new books on the shelves. Thank you for picking up our Donations Envelope at the library front desk or donating online (via Paypal) at friendsofthelincolncalibrary.org.
Donations help our own citizens and are tax deductible; the Friends is a tax-exempt charity (No. 68-0089581).
So, happy birthday to our beautiful Twelve Bridges Library! We’ll light some candles and make wishes for better times for Lincoln and full funding for its heart and soul: the Twelve Bridges and Carnegie libraries.

On the Calendar
Saturday, Oct. 20 at 5:30 p.m.: Free Family Movie Night, showing “Madagascar 3.” Doors open at 5:30 p.m. at the Twelve Bridges Library.
Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 6 p.m.: Friends’ general membership meeting, Willow Room, Twelve Bridges Library. Refreshments, library news, author talk by Bruce Robinson.

This column is part of a Friends of the Lincoln Library series. Have a question? Contact the Friends at 434-2404, at friendsofthelincolncalibrary.org or e-mail Foll@Live.com. Lora Finnegan is a Friends of the Lincoln Library member.