A power outage closed Hesperia's new branch library Friday -- one of the busiest and most popular in the county's library system -- while city hall next door made do on back-up generators.

The $7.5 million library, which opened in October 14, 2006, is one of the most popular branches in San Bernardino County Library system.

"It's one of the busiest branch in terms of circulation," Ed Kieczykowski, County Librarian. By the end of its first year, library officials expect the Hesperia branch to have checked out more than 300,000 items -- with the highest turnover rate of items coming in and going right back out of any branch in the 30 branch system -- and served more than 375,000 patrons. "They are truly successful. They continue to register new people all the time, new library cards issued.

"The staff is really earning their money out there."

But on Friday afternoon, the library was dark, its doors locked and programs cancelled for the day.

"We had construction in the area," city spokeswoman Kelly Malloy said. "We're not sure exactly what happened, but something happened that cut the power to the civic center area."

"We haven't gotten word from Edison yet as to what the exact cause was," said Brian Johnson, the city's director of management services. "Both buildings are completely out of power as provided by Edison."

But while the city library was dark Friday, work continued at city hall, albeit without air conditioning or unnecessary power usage.

"City hall has as a fairly extensive [diesel fuel] generator system, as did the previous city hall," Johnson said. "City hall is where we manage [Emergency Operations Center] events."

In the event of a fire, earthquake or other disaster, city hall functions as a command center to coordinate emergency response services.

"We need to be able to function here at city hall," Malloy said.

The new branch library cost approximately $7.5 million in local and state funds. Not included in that price tag was money for a back-up generator system like the one powering city hall Friday afternoon.

"The generator system here for city hall was about $200,000, especially once you put on the automatic switch-on devices," Johnson said. "That's too expensive for what I'd call a conventional, non-essential use building."

Maybe next time.

"They are busting at the seams" at the library, Kieczykowski said. The city "seriously needs to start thinking about branch number two or an expansion down the road."

City officials expected the library to reopen on Saturday.

The Hesperia Branch Library will celebrate its one-year anniversary with a party on Saturday, October 13 at 11 a.m., featuring a birthday cake.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.