The Morro Bay Library, the Friends of the Library (a citizen support group) and the county all want to expand the library to provide more space for patrons and, primarily, to give children the room they need. Right now, the children’s services are tucked away in a corner of the main library and have been since the library opened 25 years ago.
No one has to build anything to provide the space needed. There is a 1,500-square-foot Program Room within the library building that is not being used for library services. That room was always intended for library services since the library was built in 1984 and became the community’s first permanent library. It is needed more than ever to meet library needs as demands for services are burgeoning, especially now in a recession when people are reading more and searching for job alternatives more. Library use jumped 22 percent last year alone.
The city just won’t let the big room be used by the library, which would enable the library to expand by 40 percent. And that refusal has been repeated for nearly 10 years. There’s no obvious explanation for the city’s intransigence. The big room has been used for meetings by local organizations since the library opened, even though it was never intended for that purpose. It isn’t about money (revenue to the city from rental fees), one staff member said. It seems to be about putting the needs of outside adult groups ahead of the children’s needs.
However, the two main groups that use the Program Room have both indicated they would be glad to meet elsewhere to help the library serve residents.
Consequently, the Friends and other supporters will make the case it is time for the city to change its position on Feb. 22 when the City Council is expected to decide in closed session. To find out how to help, see morrobayfriendsoflibrary.org