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Turlock Library renovations in full swing
Friends group seeks naming sponsors, wall donors
Turlock library renovation
The Turlock Library project is renovating the old building and expanding the footprint at the current location on Minaret Avenue (KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal).

Construction on Turlock’s new and expanded library has been zooming along and is expected to be completed by early spring of 2021.

Also nearing completion is an equally important fundraising project that aims to make sure that come the grand opening the new library is a truly stunning and innovative facility for the community.

The library project is renovating the old building and expanding the footprint at the current location on Minaret Avenue. In November 2019, the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors approved the project with a budget of $12.7 million and construction began in March.

Once completed the new library will be 16,530 square feet and will include larger collections for adults, teens and children, as well as new technology for the public to use. Additionally, the library will have several specialized rooms like a quiet reading room, a maker’s space, and a community room.

Currently, the insides are being readied for plumbing and electricity and by January the drywall will be installed.

As construction began the Friends of the Turlock Public Library launched a fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $1 million for architectural embellishments, furnishings, technology upgrades and long-term funding for the library. Taking up the lion’s share of this effort was a group of community members who volunteered their time and formed a fundraising committee that has been chaired by John and Jeani Ferrari.

The efforts have proven successful with the committee securing naming right donations for seven of the nine rooms.

Kent Johnson, a Turlock resident, said his family selected the quiet reading room to bear the family’s name because it honored the role the library has played in their lives. Johnson is one of five boys raised by Dr. Everett and Lillian Johnson, who inspired their sons to be curious, to pursue academic endeavors, and to be community supporters.

“I vividly remember the basement of the old library that housed the children’s books,” Johnson said of visiting the original Carnegie Library in Turlock. “It was an austere room that met its purpose. I chose my first books based upon the pictures and fewest words on each page. The ‘new library’ opened as I was entering high school. It became a quiet spot for evening homework or honestly, a valid excuse to meet up with friends to visit where homework was the last thing on our minds.”

One new room in the library will be the Imagination Station, which is an area adjacent to the Children’s Library that will be used for creative expression and learning. The space caught the attention of the Machado family.

“Our family has utilized the library since our children were young,” said Mary Machado. “We look forward to continuing to make memories there. We’re very excited to have our name as part of the Imagination Station. It is a perfect space for our energetic and creative grandchildren.”

The two spaces that still have naming rights available are the adult reading area and the community room. The community room will provide space for lectures, programs, and expanded Story Time. Additionally, the room includes a kitchenette and restrooms and will be available for rental. A series of patio doors can be opened to extend access into the large enclosed courtyard.

The new library also will feature a Founders Wall and a Community Wall. The fundraising committee has already secured $765,000 in pledged donations for these permanent structures.

FOTPL President Pat Portwood said the group has been “humbled by the community’s response.”

Donations of $100 or more will secure a spot on the wall and can be used to memorialize family and friends.

The fundraising campaign will come to a close Feb. 14. Those interested in making a donation can contact FOTPL at P.O. Box 1260, Turlock, CA 95381-1260 or