Book-lovers savor fruits of labor
Have you heard the good news for the Butte County Library? County funds have been increased so that all six library branches can expand the hours they’re open starting in October. The Chico branch will add Sunday afternoon hours, Oroville and Paradise will be open on Mondays, Gridley will have longer daytime hours, and Biggs and Durham will double their hours.
How did this all happen?
Library Friends groups and library supporters from the public have been advocating for increased hours and funds for many years. In 2002, the Butte County Board of Supervisors voted to create a Butte County Library Advisory Board. This board has 10 members—two appointed by each supervisor to represent his or her area. The county library director is a non-voting member of the advisory board.
The advisory board has several purposes but exists chiefly to develop and maintain a long-range library financial plan, so it has been working for increased funding since its start. Last year, the advisory board asked the supervisors to place a one-eighth-cent sales tax measure on the June 2006 ballot. Supervisors did not do that, but they listened and categorized the library budget as an “unmet need.”
After the Butte County Grand Jury studied the library this year and concluded that more funds for increased hours and better staff education and communication were necessary, the supervisors voted to increase funding to add more hours—soon. So many people worked hard to convey the libraries’ needs to the supervisors. This hard work culminated at a public budget hearing on June 26, when the supervisors’ chambers were filled to overflowing with library supporters.
Future meetings of the advisory board will focus on maintaining stable funding, communicating with the Board of Supervisors, networking with other community groups, and publicizing the outstanding services and events at county library branches.
You can become involved simply by visiting your nearest library branch to see what’s new. Be sure to get a library card. Or you can join the more than 270 people who currently volunteer in the library system.
Joining a Friends of the Library organization (contact your local branch) or giving a monetary gift are other ways to help. For information on how to donate money, stocks or other assets, contact your attorney or the North Valley Community Foundation at (530) 891-1150.
Butte County libraries are vital public places. The Library Advisory Board is making every effort to help obtain and maintain the highest and best use of them. Hope to see you at the library soon—especially once the longer, more convenient hours begin!