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Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority Approves Free Limited Card for Non-District Students

Exemption to Benefit Pre-School Through 12th Grade Students Attending Public and Private Schools Within District Boundaries

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority unanimously authorized a limited exemption to the recently approved $80 annual library card fee for non-district residents that will be effective beginning July 1, 2011.

The exemption will allow preschool to 12th grade students attending public and private schools within school districts overlapping the Santa Clara County Library District boundaries to request a one-year limited use library card. This card will authorize eligible students to check out up to five items at a time and to access the library district catalog, computer services and online homework assistance tutors.

The Library District serves the cities of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, Saratoga, Campbell, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Gilroy and the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. To qualify for the annual library card, students will be asked to show proof of “student status” at an eligible school.

“I am glad that this exemption will maintain services for students attending schools located within the boundaries of Santa Clara County Library District,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Mike Wasserman, Delegate to the Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority. “The intent is to continue the partnership in educating children that students, parents and teachers find so valuable.”

“This exemption will allow more students to enjoy services and resources that complement their learning,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Liz Kniss, Delegate to the Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority. “Thousands of our youngsters will benefit from this decision.”

Beginning July 1, 2011, Santa Clara County Library District cards currently used by non-district residents will be deactivated and unusable. The student limited card for preschoolers to12th graders will be implemented July 1, 2011 along with the $80 annual library card fee for non-district residents who still want to enjoy the privileges offered by the eight libraries and the Bookmobile that are part of the library district and its online services.

“The Santa Clara County Library District is a strong partner in education. The Library District materials and services provide valuable research and homework assistance for preschool through 12th grade students,” said Melinda Cervantes, Santa Clara County Librarian. “We encourage teachers and parents to bring their school age children to any of the district’s libraries after July 1st so library staff can verify their eligibility and extend their privileges on an annual basis.”

“This policy revision will expand the Library District services to students served by schools located within Library District boundaries,” said Lana Malloy, Vice Chair of the Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority and Councilmember of Monte Sereno. “Our goal is to help support education and academic growth.”

Since 1988, the State has reimbursed public libraries for lending materials to non-residents of their district, and any resident of California could get a card at any public library in the state. But the demands for service have increased to a point that the Santa Clara County Library District lends far more books to non-district residents than district residents borrow from other libraries. At one time, the Library received over $2 million annually to partially reimburse the cost of this service.

As the State Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 eliminates all funding for public libraries, including $30.4 million in state funding for three of California’s most valuable public library programs the Santa Clara County Library District Joint Power Authority authorized last April an annual $80 library card fee for district non residents.

Out of the current 356,107 Santa Clara County Library District cardholders, 202,559 are residents of the District. The remaining 153,548 or 43 percent of all cardholders do not reside in the Library District. Without the reimbursement from the State for serving non-residents of the Library District, the Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority concluded that charging an annual fee for service is justified.

To be eligible for a free Santa Clara County Library District card, people must reside in one of the nine cities that belong to Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority: Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Saratoga or in the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. People living in the cities of Los Gatos, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San José, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale will continue to have access to their own city libraries at no cost to them, and they will have the choice to purchase a County Library District card as a value-added service. The benefit of having a County Library card is that an individual or family may borrow up to 100 items at a time, per card from District libraries.

Santa Clara County Library District collection includes 1.8 million books, videos, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, ebooks and extensive online resources that users can access from home or work.


About the Santa Clara County Library District

Established by the County Board of Supervisors in 1914, the Santa Clara County Library District serves residents of Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Saratoga and the unincorporated area of Santa Clara County. It also includes two bookmobiles and an online library. In 2010, the Library loaned over 12 million items to 3.8 million visitors.

Santa Clara County Library District is one of the top 100 libraries in the United States. For eleven years, it has ranked as one of the best in the nation for its size by Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings, which uses 15 different benchmark measures such as collections, circulation, visits and customer service. Also recognized as one of America’s 2010 Star Libraries by Library Journal and with more than 3.8 million visits each year, Santa Clara County Library is one of the most-used public resources in the region. Visit Santa Clara County Library District online at www.santaclaracountylib.org

Santa Clara County Library Service Area (Map)

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Marina Hinestrosa, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119; Melinda Cervantes/Derek Wolfgram, Santa Clara County Library District (408) 293-2326 ext. 3001/3002.
Posted: June 13, 2011