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Councilwoman wants SB County to control VV's library
Keisha Williams, 11, has spent the last four Wednesday nights at the Victorville Library trying to write a paper about Ferdinand Magellan.
But an unexpected encounter with a major pothole near the library almost ended one of Williams’ dates with the Portuguese explorer.
“My right tire was damaged on the road one night, and we almost had to go back home.” said Keisha’s mother, Tanya, as she watched her daughter take notes. “We don’t have a computer so we depend on the library to get the information we can, but the road is bad.”
The Williams family is one of many who depend on the city-owned facility near Circle Drive and Zenda Street to help with their educational needs.
But Councilwoman Angela Valles said she would like the City of Victorvlle to hand control of the library back to the County of San Bernardino.
“The staff is doing a wonderful job with the financial resources they have, but those resources are scarce right now,” said Valles, after Tuesday’s council meeting. “We had lights out, and the road leading to the library is all broken up. We just don’t have the finances to take care of it.”
City Manager Doug Robertson said the road is private and cannot be maintained by the city. Valles said she would like the property owner to fix the road or have the city acquire it.
Valles said she brought the issue to the council because of the numerous complaints that she had received, and because of her love of education
“If the county took over, they may be able to take care of the staffing and physical needs of the library,” Valles said.
The library budget for the 2012-13 year is $658,394, almost $92,000 less than it was in the 2009-10s budget, with books, multi-media supplies and contract services contributing to the decrease.
Currently, part-time wages at $290,260 take up nearly 40 percent of the yearly budget, with less than $10,000 spent on building and grounds maintenance.
Mayor Jim Cox, who frequents the library, echoed Valles’ praise of the library staff, but asked why neighboring municipalities, such as Apple Valley, have new facilities while Victorville does not.
The county has not yet been contacted by the City of Victorville about the proposed transition, said David Wert, public information officer with the County of San Bernardino.
“The city would need to contact the county and there would have to be a discussion between city and county staff about what is needed, what the city would want the county to do, what the county might be able to do, and where the funding would come from,” Wert said.
Valles said she wants the library to stay in downtown Victorville because the area is under-served.
The council referred staff to gather more information.
According to a city staff report, the city took control of the county-run library in 2006, after library volunteers wanted to raise the level of service.
In 2008, the city began extensive renovations to the library, which included the creation of a new technology center with 19 public computers, free Internet access and office programs.
Rene De La Cruz may be reached at (760) 951-6227 or at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com.
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