Community Minute

California’s All-Volunteer Library

Rather than let their library sit empty, volunteers in San Jose have opened their own mini-library, lending books originally meant for sale.

San Jose Public Library sign

Photo: San Jose Library (Flickr)

Four San Jose library branches remain closed while the city struggles with a budget deficit.

San Jose’s Friends of the Library organization is definitely living up to its name. Instead of letting the new Seven Trees Library branch sit empty while the city deals with a massive budget deficit, volunteers from the Seven Trees Friends group have set up a mini-library in its place.

The New York Times reports that instead of selling the books donated to the Friends organization, they are lending them out, often to patrons who come to the new branch expecting it to be open.

The Seven Trees library has no employees, and neither do three other branches which were recently completed. They had been financed through bonds in 2000 during the dot com boom, but now that the city is in debt the branches cannot open.

San Jose’s mayor has promised that the libraries will be open by the time he leaves office, in 2014. But that’s a long time to wait for a new library. Especially when they include technology-rich community centers like the one at the Seven Trees library, begging the question of whether the technology will be out-moded by the time the library can open.

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