Ed. note: The fall in oil prices is hitting Kern County’s General Fund and The Kern County Board of Supervisors is considering privatizing services to make up for the lost revenues. The public library system, which is paid for entirely from the General Fund, is being considered for privatization in order to cut costs.
South Kern Sol uses the Arvin branch library as a central meeting place for youth reporters to meet one to two days per week. We asked our youth reporters how the library impacts their lives.
I go to the library to use the computers so I can finish my presentations, Powerpoints or any homework. Sometimes I wish we would have more computers because it only gives us 10-15 minutes to do our work and the computers are slow. People make their reservations for the computers, so sometimes there are no computers at the library for me to use, and I have to go home and use my own. [At home] I can’t concentrate as much because I have distractions around me.
Another reason [I go to the library] is to get away from family problems. I like coming to the library when things get tough and not anywhere else, because the library is quiet and calm and I can get on the computers to hear music or watch videos. I live about 4 minutes away from the library and drive [here]. I think people should come into the library more often so they can concentrate on their work. One thing that I feel can make the library better is if we do not need a library card to check out or use the computers. [The library should also] offer a tutoring program so that they can help students with homework and make it easier and understandable.
Bianca Pulido, 18, Arvin High School
I use the library to do homework, I find that it is a very good environment to study. I use the library every day that it is open from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. It is a calm environment where I can get my work done. It is difficult to concentrate at my house because there is no space to do my homework. I hardly have my own personal space. There is also too many distractions and I cannot focus on what I am doing. I just recently was given computer access at home, but I still need a good working environment. The library is just a stress-free environment for me.
I made a personal connection with the checkout lady at the library and she is very helpful. We help each other: I am bilingual and she only speaks English, so she helps me look for books and I help her with Spanish speaking customers.
I would like to see more new books at the library. I would also like to see them open on Saturdays. The book selection as it is now does not contain a very good variety. I wish there was more Spanish books and my parents wish they could check out a book in Spanish for their enjoyment.
Alberto Alvarado, 17, Arvin High School
When I’m at the library I use the computers to either work on my school work or to watch videos. I also read some of the books the library has. Now, I use the library to meet with South Kern Sol. I also use it for Internet access, which I don’t have at home anymore. [I lost internet access] when my dad couldn’t work anymore because he injured his hand. I would not be able to get some of my homework done and it dropped my grades.
I also read books that caught my attention on TV commercials and find the books in the library. The library is a nice quiet place to study. [The only other place to study] is a cyber cafe, but I won’t go because by the time I would get there it would close. I don’t see people my age [here] often because a lot of them have internet access at home.
I would like to see more books filled in the empty shelves. I want there to be more books on fiction, more history, more science. I would [also] like to see a guide telling you the name of every book at the library in alphabetical order. There are some specific books that I have been wanting to read but they’re not here.
Before [joining] South Kern Sol, I came to the library to read books. Now I’m going to get an ID card to get access to the computers, since I don’t have a computer at home. I come to get books and movies, using my sister’s ID. Right now I am reading a few Japanese comic books, “Fruit Basket”and “Card Capter Sakura.”
The library should be more open to the public. The library should be open to the public without the ID card for computers, because parents usually work and can’t be there to give permission for the kids. In order to get a library ID you need to have a parent present at the library, but my mom is usually busy taking care of my younger siblings and since the library is closed during the weekends, it’s been hard for me to get an ID.
Melissa Lopez, 18, Arvin High School
I usually use the library to study for any tests that are coming up for my classes. It gives me an opportunity to focus and work on any assignments for class with no distractions.
I would like to see a place where you can listen to your music without being told that it’s too loud or a place where you can go and talk on your phone.