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Canyon Country library set to reopen

Community: Location on Soledad Canyon Road will begin welcoming readers Tuesday

Posted: February 18, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 18, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

The Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library is ready to reopen its doors to the public Tuesday.

That’s earlier than expected, and under budget, too.

The library was slated to reopen in March, but that plan was thwarted by a scuffle between Los Angeles County and city of Santa Clarita officials.

A total of 4,189 square feet was added onto the library during its nearly yearlong construction.

The library, located at 18601 Soledad Canyon Road, will now feature a teen and family area furnished with plush lounge chairs, a community meeting room equipped with an updated audiovisual system and new self check-out stations, among other improvements. The library’s book and audio visual collection also grew by 8,000 titles.

“I think it’s very beneficial to reopen the library, and I think it’s very needed that the library becomes larger in size,” said Alan Ferdman, a Canyon Country resident who lives near the soon-to-be-reopened library.

For the students, parents and faculty of Sierra Vista Junior High School, located just over a mile from the library, the expanded facility represents a vital resource, said Mark Crawford, the school’s principal.

At a recent orientation night for parents of incoming seventh-graders, a mention of the community library’s reopening was met with applause, he recounted.

Historically, Crawford said, the school’s students have relied on the library to pick up books on their summer reading lists and to log onto the Internet. Now they’ll be able to head back during hours when their school library is closed.

It’s an option community residents have been without since May 2010, when the county library closed to begin the expansion project.

The county had originally planned for the library’s reopening in October 2010.
Instead, construction on the site came to a halt in September, after the city of Santa Clarita announced its intention to remove itself from the Los Angeles County Public Library system and transition to a city library system come July 2011.

At that time, county officials decided they couldn’t move forward before negotiating the city’s contribution to the project, County Librarian Margaret Donnellan Todd said.

The delay led to a new plan: reopen the library in March. But the county ended up finishing ahead of that mark. The city ultimately agreed to pick up $622,600 of the $1.9 million tab for the project, according to Deputy City Manager Darren Hernandez.

The total cost was well under the $2.5 million budget originally projected for the expansion, Todd said, mostly due to the downswing in the construction market in recent years.

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