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Ojai Council OKs Funds for Library Study


The Ojai Library came a step closer to adding some elbow room this week after the City Council approved $10,000 to pay consultants to explore expanding or moving the library.

At 5,100 square feet, the building is too small for the number of people it serves, said Dan Singer, general services director. About 400 people visit the library each day and check out about 9,000 items every month.

Each time the library gets a new book, librarians must remove an old one to make space, said Kit Willis, city librarian. City officials hope to create a 16,000-square-foot library, Singer said.

Adding a second story to the existing building on Ojai Avenue was ruled out as too costly, Singer said, but consultants will consider buying adjacent property or moving the library to another location.

Alternate sites to be considered are the Ojai Unified School District's kindergarten property at North Montgomery and Aliso streets; the school district's auditorium at Chaparral High School, 414 E. Ojai Ave.; a long-vacant gasoline station and adjacent World University of America sites at Ojai Avenue and Ventura Street; the Antique Collection property at Ojai Avenue and Canada Street; land across Santa Ana Street from City Hall where a temporary police headquarters now stands; and a former bowling alley on East Ojai Avenue.

In addition, expanding the library onto adjacent land will be studied. Because the library needs to grow to three times its size, a complete move might be more likely to ensure there is enough room for parking, officials said.

Mayor Suza Francina said she prefers a new library be close to the current location on Ojai Avenue because the library is a social hub.

Councilwoman Sue Horgan, who is the council's representative on the city's Library Expansion Committee, said she wants to hear from residents about where they would like the library to be.

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