Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | October 23, 2007

Libraries: Free and open to anyone

“Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.” ~ Lady Bird Johnson

Welcome to the second annual National Friends of Libraries Week. The Friends of Libraries U.S.A. has set aside Oct. 21 to 27 to celebrate the volunteer groups that support local libraries.

As a member of the Friends of the Morgan Hill Library, I spent some time volunteering at the group’s booth at the Taste of Morgan Hill last month. Whenever anyone wandered by our booth, we’d ask “Have you been to the new library?”

Many times the response was, “I live in Gilroy. Can I use the Morgan Hill library?”

The answer to that is an emphatic “Yes!”

Anyone can visit either library, and anyone with a Santa Clara County Library system library card can borrow materials at any library in the system. In addition to Morgan Hill and Gilroy, the Santa Clara County Library system has libraries in Saratoga, Milpitas, Los Altos, Cupertino and Campbell.

To answer another frequent question, that library card is free.

If you haven’t been to the beautiful new Morgan Hill Library, you really ought to visit. It’s located at 660 West Main Avenue, just behind the old library.

By day, you can enjoy the view of El Toro mountain dramatically framed in the two-story window behind the reference desk, browse the collection and view the art installed throughout the facility. The art pieces were purchased for the new library by the Friends of the Morgan Hill Library’s Beyond Books Campaign.

By night, you can enjoy the beautifully lit plaza featuring sister city benches.

The Friends of Libraries Week is a great opportunity to get to know more about the dedicated volunteers who raise money to support your local libraries. In South County, both the Morgan Hill and Gilroy libraries have active Friends groups.

The Friends of the Gilroy Library holds sales of donated books on the third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Gilroy Library meeting room. The Gilroy Library is located at 7387 Rosanna Street.

The Friends of the Morgan Hill Library sells donated books in its bookstore just off the lobby in the Morgan Hill Library. Bookstore hours are dependent on volunteer staffing, but the goal is to be open on Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

In addition, the Friends of the Morgan Hill Library holds quarterly book sales in the library’s program room. The next sale will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The funds that Friends raise often support library activities, like summer reading programs and speakers forums, and purchase books for best seller collections.

I’m proud to be a member of the Friends of the Morgan Hill Library, which last year raised more than $226,000 in its Beyond Books Campaign to purchase art and equipment for the new facility that opened in July.

One of the events that supported the Beyond Books Campaign was the inaugural Silicon Valley Puzzle Day, which featured crossword puzzle and sudoku competitions, as well as lots of non-competitive puzzling fun.

Silicon Valley Puzzle Day was so much fun that – even though the Beyond Books Campaign is behind us – planning is under way for the second annual Silicon Valley Puzzle Day.

It will be held at the Morgan Hill Library on Sunday, Feb. 3. Save the date and plan to join us for a day of competitive and noncompetitive puzzling fun. Details are posted online at

National Friends of Libraries week is a great opportunity for all library lovers to get to know more about their local Friends of Libraries group. Support their book sales by donating or buying books. Join the group to offer even more support to what I consider the best bargain in government, public libraries.

“The richest person in the world – in fact all the riches in the world – couldn’t provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library.” ~ Malcolm Forbes



  1. […] of one narrow issue ignores all the good that libraries provide our communities. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Libraries are the best bargain in […]

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