BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Attention is on McFarland and the plans the city has for its library.
The city announced its looking into alternative uses for the building.
The McFarland library was once closed for almost two years. Now, it’s open but for only two days a week for a few hours. The city is looking into plans to change the library into the police department but community members say this is not the right choice.”
McFarland library is in the heart of the town. It’s used by the community, mostly by children after school. But advocates said, the library does more than just loan books.
“That library provides programming for all ages,” Ariel Dyer a librarian at Bakersfield College said. “They can get classes on things like employment, citizenship, so the possibilities are endless and that space is used and loved by the community.”
Dyer helped oversee Shafter library when it opened back up after closing because of the pandemic. Similarly, county branch libraries all shut down because of COVID and McFarland library is no exception. But when Shafter reopened it was supported by the city instead of the county.
Some community members say they want the same thing for the McFarland library.
“Look at alternatives, not the elimination of the library but the alternatives for it,” Kenny Williams the McFarland police chief and city manager said. “Where could it go? How would it look? Could we partner with it? All of those things.”
McFarland Police Chief Kenny Williams says the city doesn’t have the resources to support the library like Shafter. He says this is between having a library and public safety.
However, library advocates still request for the library to be left alone.
“Don’t sit back, don’t be an idle bystander,” Dyer said. “The city is asking the county to relinquish the space so the county has to say yes. Don’t let the county say yes.”
McFarland Police Chief Williams said things are still in the preliminary phases and things may not happen for at least six months.