Tulare County cracks open plans for Dinuba library remodel

County board of supervisors approves bidding process to get Dinuba Branch Library the remodel it needs

VISALIA – Dinuba’s library will receive an entirely new look to benefit an active community of patrons and combat maintenance issues with the 47-year-old building.

At the Oct. 4 meeting, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors approved the bid documents, or documents with project plans and estimates, for the library’s remodeling project. With the documents approved, the county can soon begin the process of finding contractors interested in the remodeling project. 

Although the date for the remodel is currently unknown, Darla Wegener, Tulare County librarian, said the earliest the county might get started on the project is some time in spring 2023.

“Dinuba is one of our busiest libraries,” Wegener said. “The community was growing and changing and was using the library more and more, so we want to make sure to be responsive to that.”

The library will undergo a complete remodel for safety and modernization reasons, with changes coming to the building’s interior, exterior and landscaping, according to Wegener. She said the building has a lot of electrical, plumbing and technology needs that need to be attended to, as well as outdated kitchen supplies that were installed when the building was built in 1975.

According to Wegener, the remodel will expand the kids section of the library because of its popularity with storytime. She said a section of the building is being added specifically for teenagers to give them somewhere to work on their homework after school, with comfortable chairs to rest on and a bar-like area for their laptops. Additionally, she said a computer area is coming to the building in the public space, which also doubles as a place of instruction for potential classes to be taught at the library. The remodel also includes opening up the library’s public space so there’s more flexibility in the building, with the addition of new tables where people can sit, converse and read.

“The space is made to feel very community-oriented and homey, in a way,” Wegener said. “We imagine the place being a community hub, a community center, a place where you meet your friends.”

The library will also receive an extensive remodel to its community rooms so community groups and clubs can rent the space for activities or events, something the library currently does not offer, according to Wegener.

When the remodeling process starts and the library will be closed for construction, Wegener said the facility’s bookmobile will be sent out regularly to offer library services and get materials to people. The bookmobile, which is a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, transports items from the library like carts, books and computers and gives staff an opportunity to set up a booth-like, temporary library for the community to enjoy.

Being one of the busier libraries in the county, the library received approximately 750 to 1,130 visitors per month between June and September this year. During the month of June, 2,198 items, which include books, CDs, DVDs and magazines, were checked out from the facility. July saw a small boost of activity with 2,757 items checked out and August numbers dwindled to 1,685 items, according to Wegener.

According to the library’s website, the Dinuba Branch Library was built in 1975 after the town’s old Carnegie Library was demolished that same year. The Carnegie Library was constructed in 1916, four days after the town’s Chamber of Commerce at the time burned down and all of its contents were lost.

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