Use of Grant Funds on 2 Libraries Urged

A City Council committee has recommended spending $600,000 in federal grant money to develop plans to upgrade library branches in Pacoima and Sun Valley.

Library officials said the money will be used to design new 10,500-square-foot library branches in the two Valley communities. The new libraries would be nearly twice as large as the existing branches and would cost more than $3 million each.

The City Council's Economic Development Committee made the recommendation Tuesday. It remains subject to approval by the entire council.

"This is the first step. We are still looking at more than 14 months before there is a groundbreaking," said Fontayne Holmes, assistant director of branch services.

Holmes said library officials are considering several possible funding sources for the new libraries.

The news comes the same week the Pacoima branch celebrated becoming the city's latest "virtual library." Software and wiring upgrades at the branch will allow patrons to access the Internet and an extensive array of library resources for the first time, officials said.

Pacoima branch librarian Angelica H. Gracia said the community has outgrown its present library, built in 1961.

Library spokesman Henry Ong said the Pacoima branch was the 10th branch in the Valley and the 37th out of 67 branches citywide to be connected to the Internet and library database.

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