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Town hall to discuss library future
Turlock library pic
The next town hall meeting regarding the future of the Turlock Library - and all the county's community libraries - will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Berg Hall at Covenant Village at 2125 N. Olive Ave. - photo by Journal file photo

The Stanislaus County library system is casting an eye toward the future and what role the 13 branches will play in the lives of the county’s communities and is hoping to hear some public input on the matter.

The library is holding a series of town hall meetings throughout the county to discuss the strategic planning for the various branches and the development they will undertake in the coming years. A key component of the town hall meetings is the input they hope to get from the public.

“This is a great way for us to get in touch with our communities and gives a snapshot of their unique needs,” said County Librarian Diane McDonnell.

The next town hall meeting will be in Turlock at the Berg Hall at Covenant Village at 2125 N. Olive Ave. The town hall is set for 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Food will be served. Additional meetings are planned for the Ceres, Waterford and Salida communities.

Every five years the library develops a strategic plan to guide the development of the branches and the resources offered. In developing the strategic plan the library has received approximately 700 completed surveys from library customers and staff, and conducted 30 interviews with key leaders in all the communities. The town hall meetings are the third and final step in the development plan.

“These town hall meetings give us a feel for how the library is functioning for the community and how can we better support the community,” McDonnell said. “For example we might learn that children’s programs are a higher priority for one community, while another may have a greater need for public access to computers. Each community’s need is unique.”

The town hall meeting could be of key importance to the Turlock community because of the current move to build a new library or expand the current site on Minaret Avenue.

The Friends of the Turlock Public Library are championing a campaign to raise the funds for a new or expanded library in the community. To date the campaign has raised more than $65,000.

Turlock’s library was dedicated in 1968 and served a much smaller population than the more than 70,000 people that call it home 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.

A study commissioned in 2008 by the Center for Public Policy Studies at California State University, Stanislaus found that the town had outgrown the library and that the facility was in need of more computers, a separate meeting room, a larger children’s section and a dedicated study room.