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Bay Area Libraries Adapt To Tech Tastes, Needs

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People look at computer terminals at a public library. (AP)

People look at computer terminals at a public library. (AP)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)– Keeping up with advances in technology has become a priority at local libraries, and there is constant evaluation to stay current with community needs.

Books are still the mainstay at the library, but more and more visitors come to libraries to use computers, check out DVDs and CDs and take classes.

San Francisco library spokesperson Michelle Jeffers says they saw a big change in how people use the system back in 2007 when the recession started.

“People were cutting back, penny pinching, not buying things at the store,” she said. “Checking out movies, checking out books from the library instead of buying them.”

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

Jeffers says computer use also skyrocketed along with the popularity of their job search classes.

“The only resource I have is the libraries,” said Pete Bennett, a software engineer laid off after 20 years. He comes to the Main Library every week and even with 240 public computers in the building he often waits to do his job search.

Officials at The Institute of Museum and Library Services say book check outs dropped nearly 6 percent between 1997 and 2007.

Jeffers said to keep up with changing needs, the seven branches set to reopen in San Francisco next year will have wifi, more teen centers, more graphic novels and self-checkout machines.

The library is a community resource, she added.

“What’s a bigger community space than your neighborhood library?”she asked.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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