City of Oakley exploring new library

Photo courtesy of Oakley Library

Oakley Library, which currently occupies half the 6,000-square-foot space at Freedom High School’s library in Oakley, may be relocating.

The City of Oakley and Contra Costa County have been collaborating on the possibility of developing a stand-alone library after the city council approved a $25,000 exploratory plan at its meeting Nov. 12, 2019.

The plan is to look at the possibility of converting the old Delta Station of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office — located at 200 O’Hara Ave. — since the station moved to Brentwood in August, leaving the former site vacant.

Contra Costa County Sheriff’s office moves to Brentwood

Oakley Library now resides in 3,000 square feet of Freedom High School’s library, filling half of its total 6,000-square-foot space. After the library outgrew its previous 500-square-foot space at the Oakley Delta Station site in 1999, it was relocated to Freedom for what was supposed to be five years, said Brittany Matous, president of Friends of the Oakley Library. The city was expected to build a new library during that time. However, more than 20 years later, a new library has not been built, and it remains at Freedom.

“We have long been in need of a new, expanded library,” City Manager Bryan Montgomery said in November.

A new library at the former Delta Station site would not necessarily function in the same building, however. City staff reports indicate code-related and size concerns. Matous said within the next two weeks, city, county and library staff will meet to have a professional evaluate the building’s viability and whether a renovation or complete tear down and rebuild is a better option.

“We have to take into account the age of the building,” Matous said. “It’s fallen into disrepair and disuse for a while. We also have to look at what are going to be the code violations.”

Friends of the Oakley Library is holding monthly meetings to raise community awareness and support for a new library, including funding. The cost to construct a new library at this site is not within current city or library resources, Montgomery said.

“I know how much our community has wanted a library,” District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis said at the November 12 council meeting. “Knowing we were vacating the Delta Station here in Oakley, I’ve been keeping an eye on things. Lots of people here in the community have been asking about that building.”

Once it is determined whether the current O’Hara Avenue building will be renovated or torn down and rebuilt, funding goals can be further specified.

“We really want the focus of our meetings with our group to bring in the Oakley community to figure out what works best for our community, kind of hear everyone’s different ideas, to figure what would be the best solution to get our library into a better place,” Matous said. “We’re listening to everyone’s opinion. Some of them are ... we build this joint use structure. Some of them are ... we go to another location.”

Friends of the Oakley Library’s meetings for a new library are every first Tuesday of the month at the current Oakley Library, 1050 Neroly Road, at 6 p.m., and everyone is welcome to attend. 

According to Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick, a further discussion on the viability of the Delta Station site will be on the city council’s agenda Tuesday, March 24. Agendas — typically posted a few days in advance of the meeting — are available at www.ci.oakley.ca.us/city-meetings.

For more information on Friends of the Oakley Library, visit www.oakleylibrary.org.

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