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Farmersville Branch Library begins offering weekly storytime and afterschool crafts

Farmersville Branch Library begins offering weekly storytime and afterschool crafts

@TheSunGazette

FARMERSVILLE – It’s been more than a decade since there was a formal programming at a public library in Farmersville. As a matter of fact, it’s been more than 20 years since there was a formal Tulare County Library Branch in Farmersville to even have programming. But all that has changed this year as the Tulare County Library system opened its 17th branch at the Farmersville Community Center in April and announced its first regular weekly programming beginning this week.

“So we’re excited to offer two very fun and special programs to encourage families to come to the Library. Bring friends as well!,” the County Library said in a released statement earlier this week.

Storytime begins today, Aug. 30 and will continue at 11 a.m. each Wednesday. After School Crafts will begin tomorrow, Aug. 31 and will be held at 3:30 p.m. each Thursday. The Farmersville Branch Library is located at 623 N. Avery Avenue. For more information about our regular monthly programming, please visit the Farmersville Branch Library or call 559-592-0001.

Farmersville’s original public library was set up in a residence in 1973. It was later moved into the former Farmersville City Hall at 147 E. Front Street where it was located until the County closed the branch in 1995. The library stayed open as an all-volunteer library led by Caroline Benavides up until 2008 when it was again forced to close. A group of residents led by then City Manager Rene Miller tried to open a volunteer library in the community center in 2012.

Two years later, a grass-roots coalition of non-profits called Lea Conmigo, which translates in English to Read With Me, began working with the Tulare County Library to bring a branch back to the city. The group surveyed elementary school children in town and were shocked to learn that 75% of 8 year olds at Farmersville Unified School District are below proficient in English Language Arts, well above the state average of 45%. Factors contributing to that include prenatal care, access to health care, lack of nutrition, early school readiness, poverty and linguistic isolation. About 34% of Farmersville adults have less than a 9th grade education, a third of families live below the poverty line with a median household income that is half the state average and Spanish is still the primary language spoken in seven out of 10 homes.

Since that time, the literacy advocacy group helped secure the $90,000 community development block grant, a $40,000 Read for Life grant from the Ann Reimer Foundation for library computers, furniture and books and is close to providing Internet access at the site, a requirement to check out books in the Tulare County Library database, thanks to a $10,000 budget amendment by the Farmersville City Council in 2015.

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