Cambria Library sets date to open new facility

Old library to close Nov. 27, reopening set for Dec. 26 at new site

ktanner@thetribunenews.comNovember 1, 2013 

A ceremonial cutting of caution tape June 20, above, marked the start of finish work on Cambria's new library. In front from left are Jeri Farrell, president of Friends of the Cambria Library; county Supervisor Bruce Gibson and his mother, Jane Gibson. Holding the other end of the tape is Cambria librarian Joen Kommer. Behind her is the bearded Chris Barnickel, the county's assistant library director. Others on the library's front steps include Friends volunteers in blue T-shirts, three assistant librarians and Gibson's father, Jack Gibson.


Note: This story has been updated to correct the number of square feet in the current library.

It’s been on their wish list for about two decade, and now it finally appears a new Cambria Library will open Dec. 26, just a day after Christmas gifts are opened.

The current 2,300 square-foot library at 900 Main St., the library’s home since 1981, is set to close Nov. 27, allowing four weeks for the move to the new, 5,800-square-foot building at 1043 Main St.

Members of the Friends of the Cambria Library say they’re elated by the news. The nonprofit group shared the cost of the facility 50-50 with the county. In 2009, the county purchased the new building, but the library group had to raise $1.4 million to cover its remaining share of the total cost of about $4 million.

T. Simons Co. has been doing interior construction since July, converting what was an empty shell of a new building into a new library facility.

The Cambria Library is one of the county’s most heavily used libraries per capita. It has survived for more than 30 years in increasingly cramped quarters with limited parking.

The new site has more than double the space of the existing library, and is to provide more parking, computer access and enlarged multifunctional areas for children, teens and adults.

Library experts and trained volunteers from the Rotary and Odd Fellows groups will painstakingly pack the collection. They plan to move the books, tapes, videos, furnishings, shelving and other materials during the week of Dec. 8, according to Jeri Farrell, president of Friends of the Cambria Library.

The move will be done under the direction of library administrators from San Luis Obispo, she said, which is why the Friends group isn’t able to accept other offers of volunteer help. “This is all very detail oriented,” she said, and “there’s a lot of “bending, stooping, lifting ….”

During the closure, the Friends group won’t be able to accept any book donations for its fundraising book sales. After the move, those donations will have to be made during the library’s open hours, because there’s currently no sheltered outdoor spot in which to leave them.

Checked-out books not due before the library closes will be due after it reopens, Librarian Joen Kommer said. No books will be due to be returned during the closure.

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