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Library under new management

By: Laura Newell, Telegraph Staff Writer
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As El Dorado Hills says goodbye to one branch manager, another is ready to say hello. Carolyn Brooks, 46, of El Dorado Hills started as the new branch manager of the El Dorado Hills Branch Library on Saturday, April 2. The position earns $56,140 per year. “My goal is that our library should be the heart of the community and the gathering place of all the people that live here,” Brooks said. “I’m excited, we are going to have fun. We are here to help you find the answers that you need.” Brooks has worked as the Youth Services Librarian for the past four years at the El Dorado Hills Branch Library. In her previous position, she managed programs for families and young people from newborn to 18. “Now I get to expand my knowledge into the adults and family areas of the library,” Brooks said. She said in school, the library was always a second home to her. She went to school to work as a librarian. Now, she said she found her home again after working various jobs in her career, including owning an interior design business for seven years in El Dorado Hills and working as a teacher for almost every grade level. Brooks moved to El Dorado Hills with her family 10 years ago. “Moving here was the best thing we ever did. It’s a real community,” Brooks said. Brooks and her husband Ken have three sons, Jake, 20, Alec, 16 and James, 10. The family also lives with their “unofficial” foster child, Sam, 20, said Brooks. “He is a member of this family, he lives with us,” Brooks said. Brooks said as a hobby her family does historical Renaissance reenactments. They even perform at the library’s popular Pirates of the Library event. “You can come and see my entire clan there,” Brooks said. This year the Pirates of the Library event is slated for Aug. 20. “This is how we bring awareness to the library and to make sure everyone has a library card so we can meet their needs,” Brooks said. Since 2006, the growth of the number of card holders/users was 9,400 in 2006 to 18,000 in 2010, said Susan Covington, retired branch manager. Book checkouts are three times what they were since 2006, she said. Brooks said she is excited to jump into the position at a positive time for the library. “Our library usage is up 25 percent in the past two years,” said Brooks. “I don’t think people really know all that the library offers at no cost.” Brooks said the library offers programs for adults, teens and youth including after school homework programs, an adult book series and group activities. Internet access is also available. “Librarians are trained to help people figure out what they need and how to find it,” Brooks said. “This is our job.” Bob Billingsley, of El Dorado Hills, said the library is the heart of a town. “I think the library is the most important building in the community,” he said. “Anyone who works here is an extremely important person.” Betty January, of El Dorado Hills, said Brooks is a treasure. “She’s been a dynamite children’s librarian,” January said. “I’ve never seen anyone quite like her. She becomes the children.” Jeanne Amos, county library director, said Brooks was the perfect pick for the post. “Among all the wonderful things Susan Covington did for us, she helped us land Carolyn. Now we have to find someone to fill Carolyn’s shoes,” she said. “That’s not going to be easy.”