Stockton’s Fair Oaks Library, located on E. Main St, closed in 2010 during the city’s bankruptcy crisis.
It was to be closed temporarily, but since then, Stockton has been trying to sell the property.
Now residents and local literacy groups are fighting to restore the library to its original glory.
“We have the money to reopen the Fair Oaks Library. We need our city council and city leaders to make clear where they stand on vital community resources, like our libraries,” said Dr. Mas’ood Cajee, chairperson of local literacy group, Strong Libraries = Strong Communities, in an email interview.
With support for the cause rising, Stockton City Manager Kurt Wilson suspended the sale until further notice.
According to a recent article from The Record, voters may be
left to make the decision in the June 2016 primary.
Cajee, in an opinion piece for The Record, shared more valuable information.
He writes by national and state standards, there should be one library branch for every 25, 000 residents.
Stockton has a population of more than 300,000, and only has four public libraries.
Based on this formula, the city is short eight libraries.
The Fair Oaks Library is located in Stockton’s eastside neighborhood, which consists of a mostly poor and minority population.
The closest library for these residents is the Cesar Chavez Library in downtown Stockton.
If one doesn’t own a vehicle, accessing other libraries can be difficult.
Only one bus route goes out east (Route 83), and a round trip can take up to an hour.
Those trying to reopen the library hope with more people reading, more will pursue ed- ucation, which will make for higher incomes.
“I grew up poor, but my mother made sure we went to the library regularly. I learned at a young age to love learning through reading.
It’s paid dividends for me in my academic endeavors and I graduated from a top tier university, USC this spring,”saidMotecuzoma Patrick Sanchez in an online interview.
Sanchez started the local literacy group Stockton Educational Movement in Language Literacy and Scholarships.
“Libraries have been an important part of my life since I was a child. Libraries — for me and millions of people — are places of hope, study, reflection, discovery, creativity, quiet, and on and on,” said Cajee.