At its meeting on August 20, the Board of Trustees for Woodland Public Library and Library Services Director, Greta Galindo, discussed plans for using funds from Measure J, a quarter-cent sales tax adopted in the June election.

Measure J is expected to annually raise about $2 million, 20% of which (~$400,000) is anticipated to be allocated to the library.

Library service priorities for Measure J money are determined to be access hours, alongside programming and collections for children and teenagers.  The library is currently open 44 hours weekly, closed on Fridays and Sundays, with a half day on Saturdays.

On January 1, 2015, the library will begin opening 51 hours weekly: Monday – Thursday, 9 am to 7 pm; Friday, 12 pm to 4 pm; Saturday, 9 am to 4 pm.

Mondays and Saturdays are usually the busiest days for the library, indicates Galindo.

Children’s programming will: increase weekly storytime offerings; add a baby / early literacy storytime; engage parents through early literacy education; book clubs, lego clubs and special events; literacy based activity play groups for babies and toddlers school-age reading programs and outreach for every second-grader to have a library card.

Teenagers’ programming will present events and opportunities to engage the library and community, through: book clubs, a Teen Library Council, volunteering, SAT and ACT preparatory workshops, the Summer Reading Program, and outreach efforts with schools and parents to educate about library resources.

Collection materials and books focusing on both of these demographic groups will significantly increase, according to Galindo.

Homework and research help, as well as writing assistance and test-related preparation, will be other focuses of the library’s enhanced programming.

Added staffing to support increased library open-hours and enhanced programming will include: a Teen Services Librarian, two Library Technical Assistants, a Literacy Coordinator and expanded temporary and seasonal staff, annually accounting for about $300,000 in personnel expenses.  Budgeting for an estimated $420,000 in Measure J funds, Galindo and the trustees will also allocate $50,000 each for databases and books, with $10,000 for programming support and the same amount for operational and maintenance expenses.

For contrast with the present situation, the recent fiscal year (2013-14) had Young Adult Collection spending at only about $7,000, while Children’s Collection spending was more than $37,000 and Adult Collection spending was almost $56,000.  Teenager demographic needs have for many years been the weakest portion of library services.  Measure J, now in place for eight  years, should create an enormous growth and upgrade of such services.

Various furniture, several computers in the Children’s Area and updated circulation desks will be one-time expenses related to library improvements.

Galindo expresses that she is investigating possibilities for replacing the library’s well aged carpet, but isn’t yet able to discover funding for this purpose.

Recent quarterly statistics for the library reveal that being closed two weeks last August for re-painting and having its elevator disabled for four and a half months (August – December) had an impact, with library visitors diminishing by 13%.  However, materials circulation showed only a 1% decline, indicating an increased usage rate for library resources.  There are now nearly 28,600 library card holders, of which about 8,300 are juveniles.

Already, the library has demonstrated important attention to these two (juvenile) demographic groups.  Annual increases in school-age, family programs are 311% for events being held and 66% for attendance (~4000, up from ~2400); while, programs for teenagers increased 80%, with attendance up 121%.

Measure J money should provide key support for further improvements in library services, building upon these recent advances, believes Galindo and library trustees.