Volunteers Share Books While New Library Remains Closed

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July 10, 2011; Source: New York Times | New book shelves and a technology center of the San Jose, Calif., Seven Trees library are ready for business. But the city of San Jose doesn’t have the money to pay for librarians, so the brand new center is shut down. But thanks to a group of volunteers, residents will still have books for their summer reading.

The Friends of Seven Trees has set up an informal book loan operation right next to the closed library. The volunteer group organizes donated books, and residents can take them home. Over the July 4 holiday, the children’s section was popular, and is now depleted.

In 2000, during the Internet boom, a bond issue was passed to construct four libraries. Now, the city doesn’t have enough money to pay for staffing at any of them. The city is projecting a $100 million deficit in 2012-2013. The mayor has promised that all the libraries will reopen by 2014, but until then, volunteers are doing their part to keep the community reading.

The Seven Trees library is set to open in 2012, but leaders wonder if this will really happen. Thanks to volunteers, residents’ passion for reading will be sustained – library or not.—Nancy Knoche