First library in Berkeley opened in 1893 with 264 books
Rose Shattuck donated site of her old rose garden for library in 1905
John Galen Howard designed the original building built at Kittredge and Shattuck
Andrew Carnegie donated $40,000 to build the structure
In 1934, James Plachek designed building that is now called Central
Placheck also designed North and Claremont branches
Library now has more than 500,000 items

From July 1 2009 to May 31 2010:

2,245,307 items were checked out of the library
1,475,201 of those were adult items
731,013 were children’s items
30,093 were teen items

The Main Library has 40 computers
The branches have 2 to 11 computers each
200,000 people used computers in the library
There were 1 million visits to electronic databases

There are 18.2 checkouts per capita in Berkeley
The state average is 6.2 checkouts
Berkeley spends $8.72 per capita on materials
The state average for expenditures is $3.23
The number of items in the library per capita is 5.53
The number of items per capita statewide is 2.12

Number of visits to the library per capita: 13.11
Number of visits state wide per capital: 4.5
North is busiest branch with 300,000 visitors a year
Claremont has 160,000 visitors a year

Number of places to sit at North Branch: 61
Number of places after renovation: 73

Holds on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: 121
Holds on The Girl who Played with Fire: 74
Holds on The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest: 160
Holds on McKay’s Bees (out of print, but featured on NPR last week) 12
Holds on Red Hook Road by Berkeley author Ayelet Waldman: 29
Holds on The Help by Kathleen Socket: 85
Holds on The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman: 76
Holds on The Big Short by Michael Lewis: 83
Holds on The First Tycoon, by T.J. Stiles, 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner: 1

Cooking and health books are the most popular genres at Claremont branch
Mysteries are most popular at South branch
Audio books are most popular at North Branch
The largest collection of Spanish language books is at West branch
Fiction is popular everywhere

Sources: The Berkeley Public Library Foundation, Douglas Smith, deputy director of the BPL, The BPL catalogue,

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman...