|The Kiryat Shmuel Library|
The library system is very different than it was in Ramat Beit Shemesh. In RBS we paid an annual membership that allow Channah to take out 5 books at a time. With political changes in the Matnas housing this year, the library had cut down the days open to 3 days a week and significantly cut down the size. Channah would regularly have books on hold for months. Often she would find the books she was waiting for sitting on the book shelf.
The Kiryat Shmuel Library is located in it's own independent building. The time we went there to set everything up for Channah they had 3 staff members working. They are open one morning and three afternoon/evenings a week. There are no membership fees for local residents.
The library only allows each member to take out one book at a time. After an unspecified probationary period the amount of books increases to two. The standard work around is each family member takes our a library card. We did the same, allowing Channah to have 3 library cards every time she goes to the library. Our library membership also allows us access to some sort of online resources through the Haifa Library network.
As the library users are made up of 70% kids, the only books that can be reserved are adult books on adult library cards. There is a 2 NIS fee for requesting a hold on a book and you have only 24 hours to pick up the book when it becomes available. Books can only be returned during library hours. A list of all of the books currently in the library is available online. This can streamline the book selection process without having to leave home. We asked if our library cards would allow us access to the other libraries in Haifa. They said no but it wasn't clear if they couldn't be used in other Haifa libraries or if they were just offended by the concept of using other libraries.
Between the local library and the school, we hope that the two libraries can maintain Channah's appetite for reading. If not there are two other bigger libraries (Kiryat Yam, Kiryat Motzkin) that are much bigger but not considered local because they cross municipal boundaries. We will look into the cost of membership should the need arise.