Kats’ Korner: What the Prospect of a New Community Center Could Mean for the Oakland Public Library

On May 5th and 6th, there were meetings held at the Oakland City Auditorium to discuss the possibility of a new Community Center being built in Oakland. I wasn’t able to attend, but I have opinions on the subject. To those that attended, please don’t hesitate to contact me and share your views. Even if you didn’t attend, I want to hear from you!

My first concern is the library. Granted, the plans aren’t set in stone. But, all the same, as citizens of Oakland, we should all be aware of what the potential plans involve.

A few years ago, the library purchased the lot to the north of its’ location in anticipation of future expansion. If the current plans for the new Community Center come to fruition, those plans will go by the wayside.

The plans include renovating the current city auditorium, expanding to the north, which will mean the police department will also lose their building. From what I gather, they may relocate to another building.

Back to the library. If, and I mean if, this happens, the city office would move into the library. The library would move to the top floor of the city auditorium.

For one, in my opinion, the city office does not need that much space. I know for a fact that more people go into the library in one day than go to the city office in a week. The library is the leading source of information in Oakland. The library benefits our youth. They have access to hundreds of books and the computers, assisting them with their educational needs.

In my opinion, if it is moved to the top floor of the auditorium, less people will use it. Our elderly in the community can park close to the library, and within a few steps, they are in the door. There isn’t as adequate parking at the city auditorium. It is in the business district. The grocery store, Golden Oaks, a beauty shop, just to name a few, have many patrons. Parking would not be adequate.

I assume they would have to bring the city auditorium up to code, providing handicap access, thus providing an elevator to the second floor. But yet, I ask you, will you walk extra steps to get to an elevator? You may park a block or more away to go to the library.

I realize there may be a need for the community center. West Point built a new community building where many wedding receptions have been held. People from Oakland have had their receptions there due to Oakland not having an adequate building for such an occasion. Lyons also remodeled their city auditorium and many local events are also being held there too. Oakland maybe does need one, maybe. But, should it be at the expense of relocating the library? I am hoping not. As I compared Oakland to West Point and Lyons’ community centers, compare Oakland’s library to Lyons and Tekamah. They are much larger and newer. Tekamah recently built a new addition onto their existing structure. Lyons relocated their small library to a new, remodeled building, providing a much greater service to the community. Oakland’s library was looking into this before the idea of a new community center became the discussion. Now, who knows what will happen?

Yes, it is important to keep up with the times, as they say, and building a community center would do that. But, this is not keeping up with the times for the library. It is going in reverse.

If you have concerns, please make your voice heard. Each and every one of us in this community need to take responsibility for what happens in Oakland. I for one, am against moving the library. I hope other plans are considered, keeping the library where it is and allowing the library to expand, providing even greater service to the community.

That is my opinion. What is yours? Contact me and share your thoughts, but also let the city office hear from you!



About katcountryhub
I am a graduate of Northeast Community College with a degree in journalism. I am married to Jeff Gilliland. We have two grown children, Justin and Whitney and four grandchildren, Grayce, Grayhm, Charli and Penelope. I will be covering Lyons, Decatur, Bancroft and Rosalie and am hoping to expand my horizons as time progresses!

2 Responses to Kats’ Korner: What the Prospect of a New Community Center Could Mean for the Oakland Public Library

  1. Myrna Swanson says:

    I agree with you, Denise. The library should stay where it is now. Moving it to the 2nd floor of any building would be moving backwards. It would NOT be as easily accessible to the elderly or the children either. Leave the library where it is!!!

    • Thank you Myrna. I have received the same feedback from many people in Oakland. Not one person has said they want the library moved. I hope the city listens!

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