Tracy eyes reclaiming its library

December 5, 2011 

— City Manager Leon Churchill wants to take control of the public library in Tracy away from Stockton, where bad finances have put a drag on services for avid readers in his community.

He thinks Tracy, which has a stronger financial footing than Stockton, can offer its residents more for less money.

Churchill said he recognizes the sensitive nature of launching a move to break away Tracy's Eaton Avenue branch — one of 12 in the Stockton-San Joaquin County Library system.

But Churchill said he answers to his City Council, and the bottom line is that it could save Tracy $290,000 a year.

"I know change is hard," he said. As it is, the libraries are run through a partnership forged in 1910 between Stockton and county government.

Stockton employees staff the library branches in places such as Manteca, Ripon, Escalon and Linden. The county collects property taxes to run them. Tracy owns its library building and contributes to its upkeep in addition to the taxes collected from the Tracy area.

A staff report prepared for today's City Council meeting blames short library hours, in part, on the furlough days imposed by administrators in Stockton.

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