Great News for El Cerrito Library Users: Expanded Hours Coming!

Last night the El Cerrito City Council unanimously approved greatly expanded hours for the El Cerrito Library as a part of their budget update process.

Contra Costa County provides each library in the County system with a basic 35 open hours per week. For years this has been the schedule in El Cerrito. Starting some time after July 1, the City of El Cerrito will join many other cities in the county who add City resources so that the library can be more available to families, children, teens, and seniors. This increased City funding will allow the El Cerrito Library to be open a total of 50 hours each week, a 42% increase over current service levels.

While we were not quite able to get voter authorization for a new library last November, this change will make library service much better in the meanwhile for everyone in our community.

While the exact new library schedule has yet to be determined, it is expected the library will be open seven days a week for a total of 50 hours per week. We expect there will be Sunday service from 1 pm to 5 pm and 46 hours of service over the other six days.

As Council Member Greg Lyman said at the Council Meeting, “With this change, now everyone can be sure that if they go to the library between 1 and 5 pm any day, the library will be open. Some days it will be open a bit earlier and some evenings it will be open until 8, and between one and five every day it will be open. This will be a great improvement in service.”

As soon as the Library is able to hire and train staff to implement the new library schedule, we will let you know when the new hours will start!

Both members of our community and the El Cerrito Library Foundation have been encouraging the City to provide additional hours at the library. We thank City Council members Greg Lyman, Janet Abelson, Gabriel Quinto, Paul Fadell, Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto, City Manager Scott Hanin and Assistant City Manager Karen Pinkos for their leadership and unanimous support of this important improvement in library access and service.

Letter from ECLF President regarding Measure B and the future

Dear Friends and Supporters,

All of us are greatly disappointed that the voters of El Cerrito failed to give the required 2/3rds approval to library bond measure B on the November 8 ballot. Even though over 62% of voters agreed that we need a new library, the vote was just under 500 votes short of authorizing a bond sale.

Despite this setback the El Cerrito Library Foundation is committed to continuing our work to build support for a library appropriate for the 21st century needs of El Cerrito. Now, the City will have to develop a new strategy for reaching the goal we all share: A fully accessible, earthquake safe, and large enough library to serve all of our community’s life-long learning needs.

In our work over the years we have succeeded in raising almost $250,000 to help provide the new library with the materials and equipment that cannot be purchased with bond proceeds or other public money. This is a good start, but not enough to do all that needs to be done.

We are committed to the proposition that an excellent community library with a full array of the latest materials and compelling programs cannot be supported with public funding alone.

Your gift, no matter the size, will help us to sustain this vision and advocate for a new El Cerrito library. Please show your support by making a tax-deductible contribution at The El Cerrito Library Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. Our tax ID # is: 47-1112720. Donations deductible to the extent allowed by law.

With your continued support we will make a new El Cerrito library a reality in the not too distant future.

Thank you again for supporting our library and the people of all ages who use it.

Al Miller
President, the El Cerrito Library Foundation