In January, I got a library card. It’s been 20 years since I’ve had one, I’m somewhat embarrassed to say, but I am so happy to have one again. It’s the best bargain I can imagine: It’s free, and it includes a world of enrichment.
Having a library card again is like rekindling an old friendship, except that this friend has gotten better over the last two decades.
Fresno County Public Library Advances with the Times
It’s a simple process to get a Fresno County Public Library card, and you get to start using it immediately. Basically, all it takes is a photo I.D. and a few minutes of your time.
The biggest change for me since I last had a card is that you can get ebooks and audiobooks on your phone or tablet now. You download an app called Overdrive onto your device, then you can search for the books you want and download them.
Like when you borrow a book in person, you have 21 days to read or listen to it. The library gets a limited number of them, just like real books, so you might be on a waiting list if they are already checked out.
I like the audio books and have listened to five already since renewing my card. And I know that I’m repeating myself here—they are free!
The FCPL Does More Than Lend Books
I use the downtown Fresno Central Library, but there are branches spread throughout the county—37 branches and 3 mobile units, in fact. You can find the branch nearest you by visiting the FCPL website.
The library is funded through property taxes and through Measure B, which was approved and renewed by local voters. This allows a 1/8-cent increase in sales tax which supports the libraries.
A few library branches are set to expand with the support of their local communities. Clovis and Reedley are building new facilities with one-third of the cost coming from their Friends of the Library groups and the other two-thirds from Measure B. The Betty Rodriguez Library doubled its size at Cedar and Shields in Fresno under a similar plan.
The Fresno County Public Library does more than lend books—it also offers some special programs. One is called Veterans Connect, which offers Veterans a way to connect with services. I love to see local organizations partnering with each other.
Early Learning Centers are opening in Kingsburg and Fowler this year, too. And West Hills College in Firebaugh is combining its college library with a public library, almost tripling its size.
A Library Card in Every Hand
I grew up in the Fig Garden Branch of the Library. I can remember the exact layout of the space, because I explored every inch. I could spend hours roaming the stacks or sitting in the corner reading. It feels great to be reconnected to the local library and I’m proud that our citizens have supported the investment in reading and literacy through their donations and tax dollars.
The vision statement of the Fresno County Public Library is: A library card in every hand. I’m thrilled to have one again and I’d like to encourage anyone who doesn’t have one to get one, too.