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Foster Library to Close for Upgrading


The E.P. Foster Library on East Main Street will be closed for renovations starting May 3, marking the library's first make-over since it opened in 1959.

The $2-million project, funded by the city, will include doubling the library's size to 31,000 square feet, as well as structural, mechanical and architectural upgrades. The library will also get new ceilings and lights and interior and exterior cosmetic improvements.

The project will take six months and library patrons will be referred to Wright Library on Day Road and Avenue Library on North Ventura Avenue. Hours at both libraries will be extended.

The decision to improve the library stemmed from a community planning project in 1996, said George Tillquist, chairman of the city Library Commission.

The Library Vision for Ventura stated the need for a large central library. As a compromise, the City Council approved expansion and improvement of E.P Foster, Tillquist said. The city then hired Oshima & Yee Architects of Sacramento to design the renovations.

The library is owned by the county Library Services Agency, which owns and operates most libraries in the county. Because the city is providing $2 million for the project, the agency has agreed to give the city ownership while the county continues to staff and operate the facility, Tillquist said.

Wright Library is city-owned and the Avenue Library is privately owned. Tillquist said the improvements, which include Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations, will attract readers of all ages.

"The emphasis at Foster was on reference. Now there will be a children's library and adult fiction on the second floor," he said.

The second floor is filled with county library agency offices, but those offices will move in May. New furniture, a Friends of the Library bookstore and an exterior public art exhibit are also planned for the facility.

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