Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ground Broken for New Library

Article Launched: 09/27/2005 06:59:24 AM

Ground Broken for New Library
By Jason Massad/Staff Writer

Ray Silva, president of the Solano County Board of Education, studies an artist's rendition Monday of the Fairfield Cordelia Library on Business Center Drive in Green Valley. (Joel rosenbaum/the reporter)

State, county and city leaders converged in Fairfield's Green Valley area Monday morning to commemorate construction of the county's eighth library branch.

With the sounds of construction equipment all around the end of Business Center Drive, officials set up camp beneath a white tent in the parking lot of the Solano County Office of Education, which will be a neighbor to the new library.

By December 2006, a $14.3 million building for multiple uses along with a 15,600-square-foot library will anchor the site in the western part of Fairfield, separated from the city center by the busy Interstate 80 freeway. The library itself will cost approximately $9 million.

"It's a long drive to Fairfield across the traffic and I-80," said Vice Mayor Harry Price. "We had to deliver for the people that live in western Fairfield."

The new library was funded by almost equal chunks of money from the city of Fairfield, Solano County and the state, each contributing between $4 million and $5.5 million.

Local leaders lauded a tax that helps fund libraries through the county and also talked about the arduous process of putting the local library in a position to receive state grant funding.

Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Solano, helped Fairfield city leaders succeed in their second-chance push at state grant money.

The process was "extremely competitive," with the number of requests from all over the state outpacing the amount of the grant requests by a multiple of seven, Wolk said.

Wolk used the example of the needed Fairfield library to stump for a June initiative that she helped draft that would open up $600 million for library renovation. She said the figure was arrived at after discussions with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Department of Finance.

"It is a reasonable amount of money," she said.

While state and local money will help build the library, the grants received for construction of the building will not pay for the materials in the library.

The library system has pledged $250,000 for materials, but that still leaves the library about $500,000 short of the amount it would need to outfit the library with books, periodicals and other content, say organizers.

That's why Monday's event also marked the launching of a fundraising effort dubbed "Book by book: Lets Build our Library." The campaign seeks public financial support to stock the new library.

Those who wish to volunteer or make a financial donation call 421-8075 or go to

Jason Massad can be reached at

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