In a digital age, are libraries needed?

Of course, digital learning is increasing, yet print books are still the most popular format. But libraries are not just about books.

A library serves not only for traditional learning and enjoyment (books, e-books, audio books, DVDs, CDs, computers, WiFi, literacy, story time), but also as a community hub and gathering place for meetings, interest groups, teen activities, homework space, and programs geared to various age levels and interests. Those without Internet rely on the library for research, e-mail, and job applications.

Loomis has had a library since 1899. We’re building on Loomis’s fine library heritage, as well as staying in tune with emerging technologies.

As a Town Library we now have the opportunity to provide a true community hub, a center of community life.

What is the role of volunteers?

In anticipation of passing Measures F & G, volunteers are working hard to re-open sections of the Library so our community won’t be without access to a library for as long.

Right now, a team of volunteers is cataloging the portion collection left by the County as well as new books we’ve obtained from donations and other library systems in the area. There’s a lot of work to be done.

But the library we envision, can’t be run entirely on volunteers. We need trained staff for the long haul to offer adequate hours and develop our Library long term.

Now that Loomis residents voted for a 1/4 sales tax to fund the library, we’ll advertise for the position of Library Director, interview qualified applicants, and hire.

Did the County take all the books, shelving, and furniture?

No. In general terms, the County took the newest 1/4 or so of the books, along with nearly all the DVDs, audio books, and CDs. But after sorting, culling, and cataloging, we expect to have at least 7,000 books on our shelves. We’ll also begin to rebuild the collection with new books, e-books, and other media.

There are some feasible ways to get our collection back up to standard in the next year or two. Sacramento Library “Book Den” warehouse is a great source of new books – and at book sales at other libraries. Also we expect good-hearted Loomis residents are waiting to donate many of the books that we need once a “wish list” becomes available.

We’re starting pretty much from scratch in the process of cataloging all the books into our new Apollo Integrated Library Software system. There was no way to transfer to our database the catalog information for the books which the County left. Re-cataloging is a daunting task, even though scanning in barcodes speeds up the process. Be patient. Volunteers plan to open the library a section at a time as they’re able. The Children’s section is expected to re-open in November or December.

All the shelving and most of the furniture is still here. The computers were leased by the County, so they are gone, but the public computer carrels remain. Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic donated eight computers and monitors. Soon they will be available for public use.