Library Usage Surging As Economy Fizzles

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Martha Theis (tiess) is walking into the Carmichael Library. She comes here regularly, at least a couple times a month, to check out her favorite kind of novels… 

“Light, fluffy mysteries.” 

Theis says in the past year, she’s noticed a lot more people here. 

“Yes many more. Just look at the parking lot.” 

She points to a lot packed with cars.  

“Business is definitely up at the Sacramento Public Library because of the economic downturn.” 

Spokesman Gary Shaffer says in the past six months, circulation has gone up nearly 9% and the number of customer visits is up by 6.3%.

But he says they’re not overwhelmed…at least not yet. 

“It is a strain on the system but I think it’s evident in our staff that they are really ready, willing and able to rise to the challenge of the additional customers.” 

Many of those additional customers are taking advantage of the library’s free internet access. Norman Sadler is one of them. He says finding an open computer can be a challenge.

“It’s booked up so you got to pretty much reserve your spot.” 

In fact all 22 computers are being used right now.   

“A lot of people are going on line trying to look for jobs.” 

And libraries statewide report a similar boost in usage. The most recent figures show library visits grew by nearly 10%.