Mayor Liccardo Announces Funding to Open San Jose Libraries

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Michelle McGurk, PIO, Office of Mayor Sam Liccardo, (408) 535-4840 or (408) 655-7332 (cell)
Elizabeth Castaneda, San José Public Library Marketing Department, (408) 808-2175

Mayor Liccardo Announces Funding to Open San Jose Libraries Six Days Each Week, Providing Safe Spaces After School and on Saturdays

SAN JOSE — Mayor Sam Liccardo today announced a plan to open San Jose’s 23 branch libraries six days a week, beginning July 1.

"Our libraries provide a safe learning environment for thousands of children, even while open only four days a week," Mayor Liccardo said. "By expanding library services to six days a week, we’ll open the door to learning and opportunity to another 7,000 children each week."

San José reduced library hours in the midst of a decade of budget cuts so deep that four branch libraries, funded with voter-approved construction bonds, sat vacant for nearly two years. Branch libraries currently operate on a four-day schedule, and are open either Monday through Thursday, leaving a neighborhood without weekend service, or Wednesday through Saturday, which leaves students without library access after school two days each week.

Mayor Liccardo will be recommending funding to restore the six-days a week schedule in his March Budget Message, which will be released on March 16. Funding will come from a combination of reserves in the Library Parcel Tax Fund and the General Fund with a goal of phasing costs fully into the City General Fund over five years.

"Last year, more than 80% of our voters stepped up to approve an extension of a library parcel tax saving $8 million a year in funding for libraries," Mayor Liccardo said. "Our residents know how critical libraries are to keeping neighborhoods safe and expanding access to the opportunities Silicon Valley offers."

Mayor Liccardo made the announcement at the Biblioteca Latinoamericana in the Washington neighborhood just south of Downtown. The library serves students from Washington Elementary School next door as well as residents of the larger neighborhood.

"As a former police officer and substitute teacher, I know our neighborhoods need libraries to be open," said Councilmember Raul Peralez, whose district includes the Biblioteca. "Libraries spark children’s imaginations and give them a healthy alternative to being on the streets. For parents, they provide access to tools like English classes and literacy services that help them build better lives."

"Many of our residents rely on our libraries for Internet and computer access," Vice Mayor Rose Herrera said. "At the same time, many employers require online job applications, even for entry level positions. Our libraries are opening the doors to new opportunities and have become lifelong learning centers for children, families, youth, job seekers and seniors."

"The number one question I am asked is ‘why is my neighborhood library closed?’" said Jill Bourne, Director of the San Jose Public Library.  "Library staff have made this our highest priority, and we are excited to open the doors of all our branch libraries and provide services to our communities."

Comments

This is welcome news, good for the whole community, kids and adults alike. My entire family, kids and parents, are big users of library, and having a nearby branch open will facilitate every child's ability to get that book she needs (that might otherwise be stranded at a closed branch), do research projects, etc.; and will just generally unlock an important community asset. I love how you can get books from other branches delivered to where you need it, but there's nothing like being able to just walk in and get it right away. I'm looking forward to it. Congratulations.

I'm glad the city is prioritizing the value of the libraries and opening hours. They have been my haven since a child and in its current incarnation has the potential to provide valuable community services and improve living conditions.

This is wonderful news.

This is a delightful surprise. When I moved to San Jose in 2012 I was shocked to discover the branch libraries were only open 4 days, but I had no hopes that it would change. I love going to the library myself, and taking my children there to explore and discover the pleasures of reading. Kudos to Mayor Liccardo for prioritising these vital community spaces.

Because, frankly, I can't see any particular reason why - in a city this size - a library should close in the first place (outside of renovations...) Been waiting on this for quite some time, I suppose a couple months more won't be too much of a problem. Thank you.

and finally, not like a back water town library system anymore.

Best thing for our kids. Thanks Mayor.

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