By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Community gets first look at new library plans
Plans are being discussed for an expansion and renovation project for the Turlock Library. The current Turlock Library was built in 1968, for a population of 30,000. The city’s population has more than doubled since that time (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

The Turlock community could be getting a new library that features larger collections for adults and children, a multi-purpose room, a dedicated teen room, a courtyard and study rooms. The optimal word being could.

The process of renovating and expanding Turlock’s library is still in the very early stages. Architects unveiled a first draft proposal at a community meeting Oct. 16 that incorporates many of the features requested at previous workshops, while staying within the estimated $12.5 million it will cost.

The $12.5 million will come from a variety of funding sources, including public facility fees, library fund savings and internal financing from the county, which would be paid back over time. Already the project is facing a budget shortfall because of “incredible escalations” in costs associated with the materials and construction, said Stanislaus County Chief Operations Officer Patricia Hill-Thomas. County officials are planning on asking the Board of Supervisors to approve a $2 million allocation from the general fund that would be used to cover the shortfall for the Turlock library and for a project at the Empire library.

“This project expects the worst in cost escalation,” Hill-Thomas said.

The presented plan would have the library completed in two phases. The first phase would be the construction of a new building on the south end of the library that would be just under 4,600 square feet. The new building would house the children’s collection and would include a separate restroom for the children, a garden area, a courtyard and a multi-purpose room with a kitchenette. The multi-purpose room would have a separate entrance so that it could be used even when the library is not open.

The plan would keep the library’s current long nave that would house the adult collection, a centralized circulation area, and the public computers. One wing would have a teen room and another would be for staff use. At the north end a glass partition would separate the general area from a study area and office space for the Friends of the Turlock Library.

The plan also would close the entrance into the library from the Minaret side and move the entrance in the parking lot to the center of the building. Hill-Thomas said having two points of entry raised too many security issues.

The renovation area would be 9,600 square feet and would incorporate the original aesthetic and materials used. The project would take about 16 months to complete with an estimated start date in fall 2019.

The plan was generally well received, but there was also a general consensus that it wasn’t big enough to meet Turlock’s needs.

The current Turlock Library was built in 1968, for a population of 30,000. The city’s population has more than doubled since that time, now more than 72,000. The current library facility has no dedicated meeting rooms or space for library programming, such as children’s Story Times and informational presentations for consumers.
“Turlock has more than doubled in size since the library was built, but we’re not doubling the square footage,” said one audience member. “If Turlock continues to grow then we’re going to have to build passed where we are now.”

The Turlock branch of the library has the second highest circulation rate, according to Turlock Librarian Diane Bartlett. In addition to meeting the needs of the Turlock community, it is also a regional library, meaning it supports the programs of four of the smaller libraries in the county.

In November county officials will ask the board to approve the schematics and a financing plan, then the process will move into the design and development phase. The architects will be able to take the feedback gathered from the meeting and try and incorporate some of the suggested changes, while staying within the budget.

“There’s a lot more work to be done and we will be back,” Hill-Thomas said. “This is a work in progress.”