The City’s finances and what it means for our new library

Last Saturday, on February 1, at the El Cerrito Town Hall’s well-attended meeting, the residents learned more about the city’s poor finances.* The next two meetings on February 12 and March 14 will be about the City’s Strategic Plan that reflect community’s priorities. To help the city staff make smart decisions on what services to cut to lower expenses, we must let them know what city services are very important to us today and in the next few years.

We are disappointed that we will have to wait longer for a new library, but we must let the city staff know TODAY that our current library and its newly restored full-time services are important for our community’s quality of life. Please plan to attend the open house, workshop and fill out the online survey to make your voice heard.

Strategic Plan Open House
February 12 at 6pm at City Hall

Strategic Plan Community Survey
Deadline is February 14, 2020

City Council Strategic Plan Workshop
March 14 at 9:30 to 2pm at City Hall


* Check The City of El Cerrito’s website for more information. Slides & notes from the town hall is expected to be posted to the site soon. 

IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED: Please show support for our library at Town Hall Budget Meeting on Feb 1, 2020

The City of El Cerrito is facing serious financial problems. Because of these problems, the City has undertaken an “everything’s on the table” review of the city’s finances leading up to the 2020 – 22 budget that starts July 1.

This review will include a series of Town Hall Budget meetings to gain an understanding of what services and programs are most important to El Cerrito residents and what cuts will be made to balance the budget. The attachment below has information about the next Town Hall meeting which is on Saturday, February 1, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM in the City Hall Council Chambers, 10890 San Pablo Avenue.

The extended hours at our library, are at serious risk of being cut back to the bare minimum provided by the County. Our library needs your help.

Everyone who has  benefitted from the expanded seven-day- per-week service and the significant increase in variety and number of programs for all age groups made possible by the expanded hours of operation, needs to attend this Saturday’s meeting and let your opinion be known.

Thank you for your support of strong library services in El Cerrito.

El Cerrito Library Foundation

“…but, nobody uses libraries anymore!”

You may have heard someone say “…but, nobody uses libraries anymore!”

EveryLibrary, a library advocate organization, hits back with numbers that tells a very different story:

  • Almost 100 million more people visit their libraries (1.3 billion) each year than see a movie at the theater (1.2 billion)
  • Libraries are visited over 1.3 billion times a year which is 10 times more than MLB (68 million), NFL (17 million), NBA (22 million), Hockey (21 million), and Nascar (4 million) combined?
  • 5 million more people attend just library programs than go to MLB (68 million), NFL (17 million), and NBA (22 million) games combined each year?
  • More than 172 million Americans have library cards. That means that more than half of the American public has a library card right now
  • Librarians answer around 250 million questions from the public each year
  • Millennials use libraries more than any other generation
  • Americans check out over 2.1 billion items from their public library every year. That’s an average of 16 items a year for every American or 32 items a year for every card holder.

The above statistics refer only to public libraries. These numbers don’t even include elementary, middle, or high school libraries and they don’t include data from Academic libraries on college and university campuses. They also don’t include data from private or membership libraries or corporate, legal, or other special libraries. That means that the statistics for all library usage in the United States is wildly under-reported and the actual statistics for library use are even greater than what we’re reporting here. 

If you don’t believe these stats, you can check them for yourself. All of the data on public library usage comes from the Annual Institute of Museum and Library Services report. This report includes data on the over 18,000 public libraries in the United States and the latest data is from 2017. You can find the data on professional sports attendance here and on movie theater attendance here. The data on millennial library use comes from the PEW report on libraries available here.

Libraries remain just as essential, if not more, in our lives.