The four libraries in Lake County are among the 254 million dollars in grants announced by Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday for public libraries in 172 cities and 34 counties to remodel and upgrade buildings. The $439 million Building Forward Library Improvement Grant Program, the most significant in-state investment in public library infrastructure in California history, is accepting applications for its first round.
In this round of awards, Lake County’s library system has received about $1,099,667. The Middletown Library will receive $193,533; Redbud Library will earn $254,467, and the Upper Lake Library will receive $18,600. The Lakeport Library will receive $633,067.
“Public libraries are the hubs of learning, curiosity, and frequently — safety,” added Newsom. “They are the hearts of communities across the state.” While some jurisdictions in the country outlaw books, California is offering $254 million in funding for its historic public libraries, increasing access to books by renovating and updating all of the state’s libraries.
The 234 projects that received the money in this first round of the Building Forward Library Improvement Grant Program range in cost from $14,300 to $10 million and aim to improve accessibility and safety in libraries, as well as their capacity to act as cooling centers for underprivileged communities. The city of Porterville will receive $7.2 million after its sole library was destroyed in a fire in 2020 that also claimed the lives of two firefighters.
As stated by First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, “libraries are engines of community activity — they are a haven, an escape into the wonders of reading, a place to find a meal when you need one, a place to create, to vote, to enlighten children, to learn a new skill, and so much more.” “It is important to invest in the community members who depend on our libraries by strengthening their facilities, which will increase their capacity to safely and effectively meet the community’s requirements.”
To address long-delayed critical life and safety facility needs, including seismic safety, heating, and air system replacement, building security, and improved Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility, grants were given priority to the state’s least-resourced communities and projects. Twenty-four million Californians hold library cards for a variety of reasons.
According to Greg Lucas, state librarian of California, local libraries serve as pillars of their neighborhoods and are essential to California’s educational system. “Stronger public libraries enhance California and make it simpler for all Californians to access the information and support they need to achieve and thrive,” the state’s governor has said.