Citizens Voice Concerns Over Midland Public Library

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Lots of confusion at the County Commissioner's meeting in Midland on Monday.

Folks came out to voice their concerns about moving the downtown public library, but County Judge Mike Bradford said that's not what Commissioners are even voting on.

"There was a vote to extend an offer for a possible purchase to expand the library system," he said.

That possible purchase is the old Mervyn's building off Loop 250 but library lovers aren't buying it.

"There was mention early on about the possibility of closing the library," Rachel Stone, who is against moving the library, said.

A former member of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the library, Stone said the Commissioners have a hidden agenda.

"They were the ones who kept saying 'Well what if we move it here and what if we do this or what if we do that?'" she said.

She says moving the library would have a huge impact.

"We're depriving that community of an access for them to learn, access to a computer," Stone said.

But bookstore owner Randall Trainer disagrees.

"Midland is not that big of a place," he said. "It's not that hard to get around in."

A former member of the Library Advisory Committee, Trainer supports moving to the old store site because of its central location and more space.

"We would have accessibility for all handicap people which we do not have in our current downtown library," he said.

Stone and several others argue the library is a historical part of downtown Midland.

"It does need some renovation, it does need some expansion but it's fine where it's at," Stone said.

"They wanted to encourage reading, they wanted to encourage research and learning," Trainer said. "Those purposes can be better served, I think, at a different location."

Judge Bradford again stresses, right now, they're only looking to expand the public library system. Whether the downtown library stays or moves in the future remains to be seen.

"No taxable effect," Judge Bradford said. "If we can't pay for it, we're not going to do it."