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Saticoy Awaits Happy Ending in Library Saga

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Saticoy residents lost their one-room public library in March when the aging wooden building that housed it was torn down to make room for a new community center.

The county promised them a new library by last June near the planned center, which is scheduled to be completed by early next year.

But water hookup problems and other delays involving both the county and the city of Ventura have pushed the library timetable back about a year.

Meanwhile, residents have had to make do with the more limited rotating collection of books, magazines and tapes in the county’s bookmobile, which visits Saticoy Park only two days a week, on Mondays and Thursdays.

There are 9,000 books, magazines and tapes in the bookmobile’s rotating collection. But not everyone is happy with the arrangement.

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Parent Vera Jetton, frustrated at the lack of variety offered by the bookmobile, said she has cut her weekly trips to the traveling library to once a month.

“I think that they end up reading the books over and over,” said Jetton, whose children are 6, 7, and 9. Normally, she said, her children read more than 1,000 pages a month.

“I just think they should have followed through,” she said of officials’ promises of a new library. “It bothers me that they’re putting it off. We really need it.”

Jetton is not alone in her frustration.

Georgia Garcia, who staffs the bookmobile and is the former Saticoy library’s assistant librarian, said the parents who still come to the bookmobile have been complaining to her.

“We hate this thing,” she said they tell her. “We don’t want this thing. We want a library.”

Far fewer adult Saticoy readers come to the bookmobile to check out books now than during the summer. “You can probably count them on both hands,” said Gerald Natal, another bookmobile librarian.

Garcia said she has tried to tell parents that a bookmobile is better than nothing, but they “are just disappointed” about not being able to use the new library that was promised to them.

County library officials blame problems obtaining water-hookup and conditional-use permits from the city of Ventura and the county for the holdup in work on the new library in Saticoy Park.

But they voiced optimism that the new library, which will be almost 3 1/2 times larger than the old one, will be finished no later than June, 1992.

The county’s plan for the new library calls for using four vacant modular units, which will be moved from Newbury Park, said Dixie Adeniran, the county library system director. The new library will contain 2,400 square feet, compared with the old library’s 700 square feet.

“There will be room for us to have a much larger collection and to spread out considerably,” Adeniran said.

Saticoy Park sits on unincorporated county land, though the city of Ventura controls water hookups in the area. Nineteen months ago, the Ventura City Council adopted an ordinance banning the issuance of any new permits to hook into the city’s water system.

And the county was given no special consideration, said Ventura Water Supt. John Mundy. Library officials were told that they could not obtain a new water hookup, though they could tie into the park’s existing system, he said.

Once the library is in place, the park will not be allowed to increase its water usage under the city’s mandatory water conservation program.

Steve Offerman, administrative assistant to County Supervisor Susan Lacey, confirmed that the library will link into the park’s water hookup.

The only hurdle left, he said, is for library officials to obtain a conditional-use permit from the county Planning Commission. He added that Lacey helped secure the larger library for Saticoy’s approximately 1,000 residents, who will be its target users.

Although $70,000 was set aside for Saticoy’s new library in the fiscal 1991 budget, Garcia said, “we’re wondering for how long.” Adeniran said the County Board of Supervisors rolled the $70,000 over to the fiscal 1992 budget.

The parents, Adeniran added, “are definitely not forgotten. We’re working on the resolution of all these things.”

“I understand the parents’ frustration,” Offerman said. “The county is working as hard as we can on getting the library building in as quickly as possible.”

The bookmobile, which rotates books daily from its collection, stops at Saticoy Park on Mondays and Thursdays from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.

It also stops in Ventura at Ralston Street and Swift Avenue on Tuesdays from 1 to 5 p.m., at Cabrillo Village in Ventura on Wednesdays from 1 to 5 p.m. and in Silver Strand at Channel Islands Harbor on Fridays from 2 to 4:30 p.m.


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