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Speaking up about North Tahoe libraries

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

Bestsellers, DVD’s, the Internet ” libraries are the place to check these things out. But Tahoe patrons say they want extended service hours to make the most of what the library has to offer.

Placer County conducted surveys in November soliciting information from library customers about library use and preferences. And the results are in.

The intent of the surveys was to update a service plan created for 2002 to 2010, and to assess whether libraries were on track with customer priorities, said director of Placer County library services Mark Parker.

Of more than 1,400 county-wide survey respondents, 125 were from the Tahoe Basin. Twice as many people identified with the Tahoe City Library than the Kings Beach branch, and the majority were women over 31 years old.

The most common survey responses included support for Monday library services, extended hours and an expanded Kings Beach location.

“I’d like to say we can expand hours in both branches,” said Parker, but the county will have to look into next year’s budget to afford the increased staffing costs.

Kings Beach Library branch manager Louise Jensen agrees that both libraries could be open more often, but that “the community has gotten the hang of it.”

And she said library services is outgrowing the library building. An expansion is in the works, she said, but no formal plans have been made.

Other questionnaire responses emphasized the importance of Internet services, including requests for wireless connections and more computer workstations.

The county has plans to expand tech services at all the branches, Parker said, and, if all goes well the upgrades will be completed within the next year.

Library surveys also revealed how pleased people were with the inter-library supplies and customer service.

“I’ve been able to get what I need,” said Charles Marillac who frequents the Tahoe City Library. “But it’s always nice to get more room or things. For the resources and funding, they do a good job.”

Overall, the Tahoe City and Kings Beach libraries are on par with the plan set five years ago. Information from the surveys will be presented to the library advisory board, and the county is planning for a workshop in May on library service priorities to help determine the budget for next year, Parker said.

“We want to do things at both [Tahoe] branches to make them nicer,” he said. “It will be a real focus as far as we can afford it.”


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