As Porterville waits for new library, city looks to bring library services to streets

Wednesday, June 17, 2020
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The vehicle will reportedly be able to reach all areas of the community with the same one-on-one services offered in brick and mortar libraries.

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's been almost four months since a fire took the lives of two Porterville firefighters and the city's only library.

RELATED: Porterville firefighters died trying to save others inside burning library

The library was demolished, and the site has been cleaned up and fenced off.

The city is continuing to look at possible locations for a temporary and permanent library.

RELATED: 'Lives are torn apart': Porterville residents get first look at library fire aftermath

But you may not have to wait until then to check out a book.

The city recently received a $60,000 California State Library grant for a mobile library vehicle.

"An electric pickup essentially or a box truck and converting it into this mobile library," explained Porterville City Manager John Lollis.

A staff report about the mobile library vehicle shows some examples of other mobile libraries, and says the vehicle "will be able to reach all areas of the community with the same one-on-one services offered in brick and mortar libraries."

Porterville city councilmembers are expected to approve the purchase of the vehicle at their meeting on Tuesday night.

City Manager John Lollis says the city may also try to pair Wi-Fi service with the vehicle, given how popular the library's computer lab used to be.

"The book of the library, pardon the pun, is that there's stories to be written," Lollis said. "So this mobile library and then an interim facility, temporary facility-those are the different chapters of the book that we'll be writing over the next couple of years."

City councilmembers are also expected to accept a donation on Tuesday night.

After the fire, children of local public safety agencies raised $8,500 on GoFundMe for a memorial to honor the fallen firefighters.

"At this time, the group would like to donate these funds to the City for the exclusive future use towards a memorial bench and mural to honor Captain Figueroa and Firefighter Jones," a city staff report says.