San Jose library use rises with sinking economy as free services draw families, job seekers

A sagging economy has helped renew interest in San Jose libraries in recent months, and more families and job seekers are coming in to check out free services and materials.

San Jose Library Director Jane Light said at a recent city meeting that library visitors increased 5 percent in July compared with July 2007, and librarians received 14 percent more requests for help in its latest yearly figures.

Light indicated that technological improvements and a few new branches have helped pick up visits, but San Jose's system is also part of a recent national surge in library use that is typical during recessions.