The Brentwood City Council awarded the Brentwood Library expansion project to architectural firm Mark Davis Design + FOG at its Council meeting on March 26.

Council members and community members who spoke asked that there be a needs assessment done as soon as possible to determine what the community of Brentwood needs both now and in the future.

The library is currently located at 104 Oak St., across from the new City Hall and Community Center.

The original plan was to have the library expand into the vacant city offices adjoining the current library, increasing its current size of about 5,000 square feet to about 18,000 square feet. Worries about sight lines, and the ability to supervise a library that large with existing staff, led the council to instead consider a partial expansion to about 10,000 square feet at a meeting last September.

Concerns from the community and the Friends of the Brentwood Library about the partial expansion have increased awareness on the council that this decision about the new and improved Brentwood Library must be done with careful consideration of the community's needs both now and in the future.

We are incredibly fortunate in Brentwood to have the city's continued support for the library. Libraries in the Contra Costa County Library system are funded primarily by the county. The county covers the costs of keeping libraries open for 35 hours a week -- anything beyond the 35 hours must be paid for by the cities.

Residents of Brentwood may not be aware of the fact that the city of Brentwood pays for an additional 21 open hours a week for its library for a total of 56 open hours a week, more hours than any other library in East Contra Costa County (and more than many other libraries in all of Contra Costa County.) Brentwood paid around $230,000 last year out of its general fund to cover the staffing required to keep the library open the additional 21 hours a week. That also covers maintenance, janitorial services, telephone equipment and services and more. We have a great working relationship with city departments. We look forward to a great discussion with the city and the architect about the expanded library and about how best to serve the needs of the Brentwood community.

CHILDREN'S/FAMILY PROGRAMS IN EAST COUNTY: The Magic of Timothy James will be at the Antioch Library at 3 p.m. April 17.

James packed the house last time he was in Antioch so arrive early to get a good seat for a performance you won't want to miss. This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Antioch Library.

S-S-S-SNAKES!: Snakes will be at the Brentwood Community Center at 4 p.m. April 17.

Learn all about these fascinating creatures from East Bay Park ranger Eddie Willis, and meet a local species up and close and personal! For ages 5 and up. Sponsored by the Friends of the Brentwood Library.

TEEN PROGRAMS IN EAST COUNTY: A poetry workshop will be at the Antioch Library from 3 to 4:30 p.m. April 11. Celebrate National Poetry Month. Come explore the world of poetry through a hands-on workshop featuring free writing and writing prompts.

Teen "Duct Tape" Craft Day: The teen event is set at the Oakley Library from 3-5 p.m. April 20.

Do you need a new wallet, belt or tie? Oakley Library Youth Squad invites teens to create one of these or whatever you fancy with steadfast yet versatile duct tape. Pizza will be served.

Think Green!: The program will be at the Brentwood Library

from 4 to 6 p.m. April 24. Make something fabulous with recycled materials. Sign up in the library or online at ccclib.org/programs. For grades 6-12. Funded by the Friends of the Brentwood Library. Materials will be provided.

ADULT PROGRAMS: Libraries in Contra Costa County offer used books for sale by Friends of the Library organizations. Most library book sales in East Contra Costa County are ongoing, with a dedicated space inside the library that always offers used books for a great price. The Antioch Friends of the Library offers a bimonthly book sale, usually the first weekend of the month in even months. In April the Friends of the Antioch Library will host one of these bargain lovers' delights, with a preview sale on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (for Friends members). The regular sale will be held Friday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, from noon to 5 p.m., and Monday, from noon to 3 p.m.

Adult Beading Program: The program will be at the Oakley Library from 6-8 p.m. April 17.

Local beading experts Donna Cooper and Angela Difilippi will teach you how to create simple projects with beads in this monthly program. Great for gifts! Registration required.

More program information is available on the Library's website at http://ccclib.org/programs/.

Liz Fuller is a community library manager at the Brentwood library. Reach her at 925-516-5294 or at lfuller@ccclib.org.