Securing funds for our libraries

 

It’s time for residents to sharpen their pencils, break out
their dictionaries and have some postage stamps handy, because
there’s work to do.
It’s time for residents to sharpen their pencils, break out their dictionaries and have some postage stamps handy, because there’s work to do.

Money is still available from the voter-approved $138 million Proposition 14 library bond, and it will be doled out by the California Public Library Construction and Renovation Board in two more rounds of applications and grant distributions.

San Benito County and San Juan Bautista need to submit applications in March for the second round of funding.

In the first round of funding,, approximately 56 cities sought grant money, but only cities without a library at all were awarded it. Local officials say odds are good San Benito County and San Juan Bautista will secure a share of the $120 million to be distributed in the second round next year. The library board will distribute the final $90 million in a third round of grant-making.

County residents can help ensure the success of both libraries’ second-round applications. Letter-writing campaigns need to start.

The letters should be sent to: State Librarian’s Office, Dr. Kevin Starr, State Librarian of California, Office of Library Construction, 1029 J St., Suite 400, Sacramento, CA 95814-2825.

We’d suggest reminding the library board that San Benito County has a high percentage of residents living in poverty and that our libraries are much too small for our population, which has exploded since the buildings were constructed and that our school libraries are inadequate and underfunded.

Officials from both libraries will be spending the next few months tweaking applications. If you’ve got an idea for improving their chances, contact your area librarian.

For the San Benito County Free Library, that is Jo Wahdan, who can be reached at the SBC Library at 636-4107, 470 Fifth St., Hollister, and in San Juan Bautista, it is Pat Larkin at 623-4687, 801 Second St., San Juan Bautista.

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