The Porterville City Council and Library and Literacy Commission met in a special joint meeting and had a presentation by INTERNNECT PROGRAM where the architect involved with the program, Gilbert Bareng, outlined the ideas from the students in the various high schools’ competition in 2019.

Before Bareng spoke Edie La Vonne of the Library Commission spoke about how long the commission has been working on the plan for the new library, and it’s been a long term process.

The project has been in the works for over 3 years with over 400 students getting involved. Orosi High School and Harmony Magnet Academy students were in the 2019 competition with Orosi receiving First place. 

The INTERNNECT PROGRAM is now starting the Design Lab explained Bareng, and they will be addressing the site and environmental Analysis for the new library, with a meeting at the Porterville City Library on January 23. 

The students will be starting to design the sites and lay out the floor plans for a multilevel facility.

Orosi students were interested in transition from old to new with a very open space with a lot of daylight. They wanted a fun space, that was inviting and interactive, with technology and space to connect with the outdoors.

Harmony Magnet Academy students addressed more tradition and culture, but also wanted a very modern library space using technology.

After the INTERNNECT presentation with pictures, La Vonne gave a presentation and spoke about the existing Porterville City Library that was built in 1953 and expanded in 1957. The upper floor was added in 1975.

She said basically that the library is old and outdated, workspace for staff is tight, and also tight for library patrons.

Pictures of brand new large libraries and multi-use facilities at Clovis Regional Library, Long Beach Main Library, Fresno County Library and a new library in Kern County were shown on a projector.

All costing many millions of dollars. La Vonne and the commission asked the City Council for their support to build a new library.

Susan Uptain, also on the committee, spoke about the original library being a Carnegie library in town and how it was demolished because of cracks in the walls. She even pointed to a picture on the council chamber walls.

She said there are different ways to fund a library, and that we need a community that is willing to fund it. There is a pending state grant, and if we have a current needs assessment, we can access those funds.

We can also have sales tax or a bond.”

Mayor Martha Flores thanked the INTERNNECT director and La Vonne, and Uptain, for the information provided and the presentation and the meeting continued with remarks from various

City staff and Vice-Mayor Monte Reyes.

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