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March 30, 2020

City supports a new county library

4-1 vote to support a library and resource center

Following in the footsteps of San Benito County supervisors footsteps, the Hollister City Council passed a resolution of support for a new county library and resource center.

The resolution passed on a 4-1 vote on Aug. 19, but was not made without clashing amongst the council. Mayor Ignacio Velazquez said he wanted to add language to the resolution that expanded on the nature of the library by including in the resolution, “a center for higher learning.”

Velazquez envisioned the new county library as a part of a possible four-year university in Hollister. Vice Mayor, Marty Richman, and Velazquez clashed over this possibility. Richman said he believed the county library should be a place for children and that college-aged students “did not mix” with young kids.

Richman had requested a final version of the resolution be brought by City Manager, Bill Avera at the Aug. 5 council meeting.

“Everyone I’ve ever talked to when they try to do a dual library, it doesn’t work,” Richman said referring to the idea that the library could have technology elements and study rooms commonly found in libraries on college campuses.

Councilmember Rolan Resendiz said he hoped the library update could make the facility more progressive, siding with Velazquez. He said people needed to be using the library when children were in school and that’s where the technology element would come in.

“I think we need to think more modern,” said Resendiz.

The current county library, at 470 5th St.,  was built in 1960. Members of the group, Coalition for a New Community Library and Resource Center spoke to the councilmembers at the meeting and assured them they envisioned including a technology-based modern element in the new facilities. 

The Coalition for a New Community Library and Resource Center’s website said they are “working as members of the community acknowledging our growth and planning for the future. With this in mind, we need a new facility with additional space for a library and resource center, which would accommodate meeting and study spaces, life-long learning opportunities, and reading programs for children, teens, adults, seniors, and families.”

Velazquez made a motion to change the resolution language to include “a center for higher learning,” but the resolution failed in a 2-3 vote, with Velazquez and Resendiz voting in favor. Richman made a second motion keeping the resolution language, which passed in a 4-1 vote. Velazquez voted against the resolution.

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