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Group sets sights on new library for Turlock
library pic 1
The Turlock branch of the library has the second highest circulation rate, which leaves the staff scrambling to find work areas. - photo by SABRA STAFFORD / The Journal

For years the Friends of the Turlock Public Library have engaged in efforts that have expanded the children’s literacy programs and bolstered the library’s offerings to the community. Now they are ready to embark on their most ambitious campaign: Find a new home for the Turlock library.

The Friends of the Turlock Public Library have pledged $25,000 as seed money that would ideally be used for relocating the Turlock branch to a new site, but if not that, then funding an expansion of the current site’s footprint.

“The Turlock library has looked like this since 1968 when it opened,” said Turlock Librarian Diane Bartlett. “Maybe there have been some shelves changed around, but it’s pretty much the same. This is small for this town. People expect a bigger library for a community of this size.”

This is not the Friends of the Turlock Public Library’s first attempt at finding a larger facility. In 2008, the group partnered with the Center for Public Policy Studies at California State University, Stanislaus for a report on the value the community placed on the library and identify current and future needs.

The report found that the access to materials, services and programs at the Turlock library saved residents more than $4.3 million in 2008. The survey found an overwhelming majority of the community placed a high level of value in the library, but that the population had outgrown the facility. The report states the facility needs more computers, a separate meeting room, a larger children’s section and a dedicated study room.

“You could take that report and say it was 2015,” said Patricia Portwood, a board member of the Friends of the Turlock Public Library. “The figures and circulation have increased, but the need is the same. It’s tremendous.”

The Turlock branch of the library has the second highest circulation rate, according to 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.

“We do a whole lot with what we have,” said Bartlett. “There just isn’t enough space to do everything we would love to do for the community.”

Portwood said the group would like to see the library find a new home within the next five years and they are in the process of forming a committee to start working on the needed funds and other aspects associated with the project.

“We know there is a need,” Portman said. "So, now let’s get the solution.”

Anyone interested in joining the committee can contact the Friends of the Turlock Public Library through the mail at P.O. Box 1260, Turlock, Ca 95381.

A donation station has been set up at the Turlock library to fund the new location.