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City Council told Lodi Library needs more space

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Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 10:00 pm

Lodi's library needs to double in size if it's going to keep up with the growing population and needs.

That's what City Council members were told Tuesday during their first official glimpse at the Library Facilities Master Plan documents which has been in the works since June. The plan should take residents through 2021.

The library board has already pledged $50,000 toward the plans being prepared by an Oregon-based firm that has helped build libraries in other cities. Another $60,000 will come from the city.

A private consulting firm hired by the library staff is gathering information by surveying residents and holding public meetings to gauge what kind of library citizens want in the future. The 22-year-old library, at Locust and Church streets, is aging and has been deemed insufficient to meet community needs.

Options include building a new library, expanding the current one or creating satellite branches with at least one on the Eastside. The city could either temporarily lease or buy any structures needed for a satellite location.

The plan is designed to serve a city population of 71,500, Lodi's estimated population in 2021, assuming the city grows 1 percent annually.

Vice Mayor Phil Pennino and Councilman Keith Land want the main library downtown, no matter what. Neither favor satellites and instead want to expand the library's current site.

Councilwoman Susan Hitchcock, on the other hand, favors moving the library to accommodate more cars. "You're not going to get the parking you need at the current site," she said.

Planners estimate the library should be 57,000 square feet, which is 29,000 larger than the existing structure. If expanded, the site would need a new storm drainage system, updated interior and improved electrical capabilities, according to Tuesday's report.

Other ideas included remodeling the police building and using it as a library after the new public safety building is built, or putting it near Hutchins Street Square.

Pennino suggested using the Boys and Girls Club as a check-out station for books and site for storytelling hours.

Richard Jones, club director, said he'd be supportive of that and is willing to sit down and talk with library representatives.

"That'd be great for us because we already have a large educational program with the kids," Jones said.

Nancy Martinez, library services director, said the library is under serving some of the city's neighborhoods, namely on the Eastside.

That's what residents said at the series of public meetings held by the consulting firm over the summer, Martinez said.

Additionally, surveys taken by the library indicated that there needed to be a library available to those who walk, mainly Eastside residents, Martinez said.

The library received about 200 answered surveys from a stack placed inside the library, from a newspaper advertisement and the library's Web site. They were available in both Spanish and English.

Another 220 were placed in the city's finance department, at the Boys and Girls Club and the Lodi Mosque. The surveys were also distributed at a Spanish-speaking PTA meeting and in front of Lodi Stadium 12, Martinez said. A breakdown of which neighborhoods library patrons live in is unavailable.

In addition to increasing the overall space in a new or remodeled library, planners Tuesday told council members there needs to be more emphasis put on technology and increasing the number of books. A new library could include technology training, meeting room space and an increase in general seating.

Hitchcock is against the ancillary uses because of anticipated costs.

"I'm wondering if we're trying to create something that's unnecessary," she said. "Maybe a library should just be a library."

Planners hope to have the final draft master plan to council members by December. Cost estimates will be available at that time.

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