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Frank Ferry: Santa Clarita library hits first-year mark

Posted: July 21, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 21, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

One year ago the city of Santa Clarita celebrated a new chapter in its history book with the grand opening of the Santa Clarita Public Library.


At a time when many public programs have been reduced or eliminated, the city took on a bold commitment to invest in Santa Clarita’s future through the library branches and expanded services.

In its first year, the city reduced the annual library fee for property owners; purchased 65,000 new library materials and e-books; added 1,200 new book titles suggested by patrons; increased programming and technology services; expanded library hours; and re-branded the library with a new look and feel.

The first anniversary of the Santa Clarita Public Library is a big milestone for our community and something worth celebrating. To date, the library has issued approximately 53,000 library cards, seen more than 704,000 customers and offered 773 programs attended by more than 25,300 patrons.

The public library plays an important role in our community for residents of all ages. To children, the library is a magical place of learning, reading and having fun. It’s a place for story times, summer reading or after-school programming and tutoring.

To residents looking for a job or changing careers, the library offers a wide variety of free employment services, including: job trainings, resume writing, tips for networking and practice tests to prepare for professional certification.

For teens and adults, it’s a place for using free Internet services, meeting friends or finding that latest best-seller to take home.

One of the reasons the Santa Clarita Public Library has been so successful is because of its dedicated librarians.

The city’s library is comprised of three branches: Canyon Country, Newhall and Valencia.

Credentialed employees include City Librarian Ed Kieczykowski, who has 30 years of public library management experience and recently managed one of the largest library systems in California for 17 years.

In addition to experienced librarians and expanded programming, the city has also incorporated top-of-the-line technologies at each of its library branches. Almost 300,000 visitors have visited the library’s website to access an extensive collection of electronic resources and other sources of information.

Technology additions include new computers, book and material sorters and digital tools that allow patrons to check out several books at once at self-checkout stands. But the city’s not stopping there. In the coming months, laptop dispensers will be added to each library so patrons can use laptops from anywhere in the library with free Wi-Fi access.

The statistics for the Santa Clarita Public Library’s first year are outstanding. This information provides the city with a strong foundation on which to develop and grow library services in the coming years, beginning with the grand opening of a new and larger library.

The new state-of-the-art 30,000-square-foot Old Town Newhall Public Library will include a children’s library, teen room, dozens of public computers, a fireplace reading room, community meeting areas, outdoor courtyard and much more.

Opening day festivities will include a grand opening ceremony at 10:30 a.m. with the City Council and a literary-inspired street fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, in Old Town Newhall.


To watch the final stages of construction for the new Old Town Newhall Library, visit the city’s live streaming library webcam at www.SantaClaritaPublicLibrary.com.

The city is excited about all that’s been accomplished in one year and thankful for our residents who have visited a branch, checked out materials, attended a program, volunteered, and provided valuable feedback to enhance the Santa Clarita Public Library experience.

We hope that you enjoy the Santa Clarita Public Library and contact us if you have any thoughts or suggestions about improving the city’s library experience.

For more information about the Santa Clarita Public Library, contact the city’s library hotline at 661-286-4055 or visit www.SantaClaritaPublicLibrary.com.


Frank Ferry is the mayor of Santa Clarita and can be reached at fferry@santa-clarita.com.

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