Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
As part of the recent coverage by the Bulletin concerning the expansion of the current Manteca library and/or the proposal to build a new one, many of the candidates for city council suggested ‘thinking out of the box’ , the box being that the concept of a library has changed dramatically in the digital age. I would suggest that the city think even further out of the box and consider leasing already available space for several new branch libraries in different areas around town.
There are a lot of empty retail spaces available at the Promenade Shops-Orchard Valley mall that would serve the community south of the 120 bypass as well as the rest of the population. Access is easy, it’s already a popular destination, and there’s plenty of free parking. I’m sure that the city could work out a long term lease deal that would benefit both the taxpayers and the businesses currently in place there. The same could be done in other locations around town without spending millions of dollars on new construction.
Renting space would also have the added benefit of allowing the city to close and relocate a branch library if the demographics and usage of the facility changed over the years. The downtown location of the current library is not ideal, and will become less so as the city continues to expand. It seems silly to consider spending millions adding on to that building when having smaller branch libraries located around town to more effectively serve residents of the community could actually be more cost effective in the long run.