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Building a New Library for Newhall

LIVE from City Hall

Posted: February 25, 2008 8:22 p.m.
Updated: April 26, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
"Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest." -- Lady Bird Johnson

Over the last decade, the city of Santa Clarita has brought many amenities to Old Town Newhall. The Newhall Community Center welcomes hundreds of children every day; the Veterans Historical Plaza is a place of quiet contemplation and solace in the center of a busy area; and the Newhall Metrolink Station provides commuter service to residents traveling to the San Fernando and Antelope valleys and to Los Angeles for work. This year, the city is embarking upon a very special project for Newhall and one that is direly needed: a new and expanded library.

The new Newhall library will be located at the corner of Main Street and Lyons Avenue on property acquired by the city for this purpose. The new library will replace the older, existing, smaller library, currently located on Ninth Street.

Although the city of Santa Clarita does not receive library funding, nor is the city the overseer of local libraries (both are the responsibility of the county of Los Angeles), the city places a high premium on providing state-of-the-art library facilities for our residents.

In 2001, the city built and opened the 17,000-square-foot Jo Anne Darcy Canyon Country library. As a result of public input, several recommendations were incorporated into the library plans, including an outdoor courtyard area, use of stonework and tile throughout the project, unique architecture, detailed landscaping, computers and more than 40 data ports for Internet access.

In a collaborative effort, the city provided the facility, bookshelves, office equipment, including desks and chairs, as well as a break room for county staff. The county provides staff, books, computers and day-to-day operation expenses.

Based on the needs in the community, the City Council allocated $5.1 million in general fund revenues to build the new, larger library in Newhall and negotiated a lease agreement with the county of Los Angeles to provide library services at the new city facility.

Right now and for the next several weeks, the city, the county library and the county of Los Angeles are asking the community to weigh in on what the new Newhall Library should include. The survey asks residents to provide their thoughts and opinions regarding what amenities, services and qualities the new facility should contain.

Public meeting rooms, wireless Internet, a café, a children's area, exhibition space, a venue for arts and cultural programs, as well as school support and employment assistance and more are all "on the table" for consideration.

Bringing a new and expanded library to Old Town Newhall is more than an investment in this vital area of our city; it is also an investment in people and the future of the next generation. I hope that you will take a few moments and provide your valuable input on this important survey.

Also, please be aware that a community meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 20, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Hart Hall, located at William S. Hart Park (24151 San Fernando Road). The meeting will include a presentation and discussion of the needs assessment, current library trends, a virtual tour of new California libraries, and an opportunity to share ideas for the new Newhall library.

The survey is now available on the city's home page at www.santa-clarita.com. If you would like a copy of the survey mailed to you, please contact Ingrid Hardy at (661) 286-4068.

Marsha McLean is a Santa Clarita City Council member and was selected this year to serve as a municipal representative on the Los Angeles County Public Library Commission for the Fifth Supervisory District. "Live from City Hall" expresses the views of the city of Santa Clarita, not necessarily those of The Signal.


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