All doesn’t appear lost, though, for the city’s five children’s libraries. In fact, only about $2,000 remains lost thanks to a series of donors, all anonymous to the public, who have chipped in $8,100 over the last few months to restore the money the Friends lost.
I stopped by the Central Library last week to see how the administrators were faring. The answer is that, even if the Friends recoup their losses, the library could still use a hefty donation or two.
Last year, Senior Children’s Librarian Mary-Pat González told me the city budgeted $50,000 to buy children’s books, only to cut the allotment to $27,000 over the ensuing months. For the coming year, the total is down to $22,400. In addition, the Friends, who provide $30,000 for book purchases in a typical year, have had to reduce their contribution to $20,000.
The funds that have come in have allowed each of the branches to make a wish list, with items from books to new shelving to live entertainers. The libraries, though, are also looking to replace aging computers and stock enough copies of popular series to meet demand.
In a recession, there are only so many donations to go around. I asked González what people can do for the children’s libraries without stretching their wallets, and she gave me a few volunteer ideas:
Participate in the Grandparents and Books program. Every weekday afternoon except Thursday at the Central Library, seniors read books to kids. The Banning Branch features the program Thursday, and the Oak View Branch offers it Tuesday and Friday. Visit www.hbpl.org.
Perform. The library usually pays jugglers, magicians and other live entertainers, but González said pro bono performers are welcome.
Shelve books. Yes, it’s dull, but someone has to do it.
On a final note, the 2010 Taste of Huntington Beach will be around before long. So how can you make sure you’re not supporting the thieves? González suggested buying tickets from legitimate sources — like the library, the Taste’s website or participating restaurants. And if someone offers you a ticket at a vastly lower price than the official one, consider yourself warned.
City Editor MICHAEL MILLER can be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at email@example.com .