Thursday, June 8, 2017
Grand Jury: Kern County Library 'on path to extinction'
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — The report doesn't mince words. The Kern County Library is on the path to extinction, according to the county's Grand Jury.
People aren't checking out as many books as they used to -- just about one book per year, per capita. That's about half of what it was 10 years ago.
With an annual circulation close to a million and an annual budget of $7.6 million, the price per checkout is just under $8.
One part-time branch, Holloway-Gonzales on Brundage Lane, has so few books coming and going that the circulation cost is more than $34 per book. The Grand Jury recommends closing that branch.
The report recommends turning existing branches into community centers, oriented more toward job-training than book repositories. The Grand Jury would also like to see a greater investment in electronic reading material.
Library advocates and officials had hoped to spur such new investment with a sales tax measure last year, but Kern County residents voted it down.
Library officials were not available Thursday to discuss the report.
June 1, 2017
Bakersfield Now, KBAK & KBFX Eyewitness News
By Kyle Harvey