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The Beale Memorial Library on Truxtun Avenue.

Kern County supervisors declined to change a schedule of community meetings aimed at gathering the community’s feelings about county library services.

Supervisor Mike Maggard said he didn’t think, when the meetings were launched, that there would be one at all of the county’s 25 libraries and bookmobile stops.

But that’s happening. Ten meetings have been completed with more to come through December.

Maggard wondered if his fellow members would be up for consolidating the remaining meetings in the metropolitan Bakersfield area.

They weren’t.

Rachel Glauser from Better Libraries for Kern argued for reducing the number of meetings. She said they were “sparsely attended,” saw a lot of county union members attending and were “pretty repetitive.”

Better Libraries for Kern is backed by Library Systems and Services LLC, the private company that has been pushing to privatize Kern County libraries. It’s also supported by local business groups.

Mandy Walters, co-founder of Advocates for Library Enhancement, said union members haven’t packed the meetings and asked supervisors to keep the schedule intact.

Advocates for Library Enhancement opposes the concept of outsourcing library jobs and operations and supports a one-eighth cent sales tax increase to better fund libraries.

“These meetings may be repetitive to those of us who are at every meeting (but) they are not repetitive to the community members who are there,” Walters said.

 

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