Modern, fresh and set to occupy a historical downtown building, the new location of the Tehachapi branch of the Kern County library is slated to open soon.

Library officials are shooting for Oct. 2, although the date may change or be delayed to Oct. 16 due to construction. The new location is 212 S. Green St.

“We feel the new location will be a prime destination for Tehachapi community members, and contribute greatly to the downtown area,” said Andie Apple, director of Kern County Libraries.

The Tehachapi Branch Library, currently at 1001 W. Tehachapi Blvd., has been temporary closed since Sept. 3. Staff is working on moving books, shelving and furniture.

Apple said the new location was picked “in an effort to save money, improve the customer experience, and provide dedicated space for library programming.”

The new location will have everything the old had plus eight more computers, an outdoor area, Wi-Fi inside and out, plus more updated amenities to come, said Apple.

The location also contributes to the City of Tehachapi’s vision of making downtown a walkable community.

“We are ecstatic about Kern County’s decision about moving the library downtown. Libraries are a place where people can gather, walk to, read and get lost in a book. We want people to go to the library,” City Manager Greg Garrett said.

The building is privately owned by Big Sky Dwellings and will be leased by the County of Kern for 10 years.

The new location is 1,000 square feet larger, yet rent is decreasing from $9,085 to $7,230.30 per month.

John Thorpe, general contractor of Thorpe Construction, which is working on the project, said, “It’s been an interesting project taking a 70-year old building and bringing it up to modern standards. It’s nice to see the building saved and not torn down.”

Thorpe added that construction has been underway since February 2017 and landscaping, yard work, painting and other construction needs will be finished soon.

Added amenities include wheelchair ramps, up-to-date ADA bathrooms, electrical improvements, large windows, plumbing and structural retro design. It also has an elevator and additional parking on the east side of the building.

For more information, visit kerncountylibrary.org or call 661-868-0701.