By Mario Conde
In a report given by County Librarian Connie Barrington to the board of Supervisors she said that the main reasons to close the Niland branch because it’s the most expansive with regard to non-start expenditures running over $12,000 per year in rent, utilities, and maintenance. Also, the low turnout of kids using the library was a key factor for its closure. It is expected to close by March 31st of this year.
Barrington added that the Calipatria branch is ten miles away and its open to the public five days a week. Safety was another reason why the Niland Branch will be closed since, according to the Librarian, there is no public safety venue near the area to guarantee the safety of the one person working there.
Supervisor Jack Terrazas asked if there was going to be a merger between the County Library System and Imperial Valley College since there was been some interest by both parties to work together.
Barrington said that there was some negotiations to merge with IVC but the dean of learning services cannot recommend the merger at this time since Imperial Valley College has also had a reduction in its budget and it is impossible right now to go on with the merger at this moment.
Supervisor Gary Wyatt said that this is painful move by the County to close down the Niland library branch. He suggested to look for future revenues projections in next the new budget in order to fund the County Library system and programs for seniors citizens because it’s the most important programs for County residents.
“This is not only happening here in the Imperial Valley, libraries are closing all over California.” Wyatt said.
Other than the Niland branch, all other County libraries are expected to remain open and work their normal schedule. Supervisor Wally Leimgruber said the Holtville library will remain open and said that residents were happy to hear about it. He said a lot of snowbirds use the library when the come to the Imperial Valley.