BAKERSFIELD - It was a good day for libraries. On Tuesday, the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved funds to open all county libraries one extra day. The allocation was part of the overall $2.6 billion budget approved by supervisors.
In the last five years, county officials said library funding was cut by a million dollars. This year, the library is starting a new chapter that includes more money.
"Well, as you can see I'm pretty emotional," said Sherry Gomez, Director of Libraries for Kern County.
Gomez is emotional now because she has about $514,600 in additional funds in her library budget.
"The supervisors have voted to add one more day of service to every location in Kern County," said Gomez.
That means more hours at 25 libraries and two bookmobiles.
"As you can see this is going to make a difference to many, many communities," said Gomez.
This is a turning point in the recent chapter of the county libraries. Recent cuts forced libraries to reduce operations from 40 to 60-hour weeks for all libraries, to 40 hours at one library, Beale Memorial Library.
"Many of our locations are only open two days a week," said Gomez.
Those will now go to three days, and the main library in downtown Bakersfield to six days.
"It's going to be a wonderful addition to the people that use the library and those communities that depend on their libraries," said Gomez.
The county had to dip into its reserve fund to pay for the additional hours, but Supervisor Mick Gleason said it's worth it.
"When you're out in Ridgecrest or Delano when it's 110 degrees out, it's the only place you can go. It's a significant improvement and a step in the right direction," said Gleason.
There is no word yet when extra hours will take effect.