MOORPARK : Officials Break Ground for Expansion of City’s Library
In this bleak time for library funding in Ventura County, Moorpark got a small dose of sunshine Monday when officials hefted a ceremonial shovel to break ground for expansion of the city’s library.
With long-promised money from the county, the city and private donations, the library will expand by 25% and add a 32-space parking lot. Construction is expected to be completed by July.
“Although it’s not as big as we’d like,” Ventura County Supervisor Judy Mikels said, “Hopefully, all the needs can be met in a way we all can afford.”
Mikels joined former Supervisor Vicky Howard, Moorpark Mayor Paul Lawrason and Library Services Director Dixie Adeniran at the small outdoor ceremony, which capped more than five years of work.
Built in 1980, Moorpark’s library is considered the county’s smallest, compared to the size of the population it serves. At just shy of 5,000 square feet, the library has had a difficult time serving the more than 28,000 people that live in the city, officials said.
Much praise was heaped on Howard, who is credited with persuading the county to commit to spending $260,000 on the expansion in 1991. Total cost is expected to reach $377,000.
Howard said the project came together because the county worked with the city of Moorpark and volunteers.
“Instead of doing something that was not possible, we asked ourselves what can we do,” she said. “We worked with what we had.”
The city of Moorpark came through with about $65,000, and residents of the city pitched in $34,000 during a telethon fund-raiser. Another $12,150 came from a few area businesses and the Moorpark Friends of the Library.
Apart from work on the Saticoy library and plans for work on a library in Oak Park, the Moorpark expansion is the first new construction for the county library system in three years, said Donna Roff, assistant manager for community libraries.
The county’s Library Services Agency, which operates the 16 community libraries, has been reeling over the past three years as state budget cuts have slashed its annual budget from $10 million to $5.8 million.
The cuts have resulted in drastically reduced hours and services, Roff said. Several cities have responded by trying to pass local tax initiatives to fund their own libraries. Other plans, including the breakup of the library system, have been introduced as a way to keep the struggling system afloat.