by Kathy Eide Casas
Walk through the doors of the new Betty Rodriguez Library and you’ll walk into the future. Enter another world; one with limitless possibilities at your fingertips.The newest branch in the Fresno County Public Library system, the Betty Rodriguez Regional Library, is located in the heart of central Fresno at 3040 N. Cedar, near Shields Avenue. Housed in the former Fresh ‘N Easy Market, the transformation from market to modern is amazing. The new library is spacious, yet designed in a manner that utilizes every foot of space in the most efficient manner. It feels sleek, modern, and futuristic, all while showcasing industrial metal fixtures, decorative wooden structures and vibrant interior artwork and furnishings. There is an oasis of technology, creativity and literacy all nested within this McLane High School neighborhood branch of the library.
Designed to meet and exceed a host of community needs, this new library boasts a meeting room that holds up to 50 people and can easily be reserved, two group study spaces that hold eight to 10 people each, separate reading areas for children, teens and adults and an increased number of public use computers, more than double the previous facility at 25. Especially exciting is the Innovation Lab. Aptly named, the Lab is equipped with a 3D printer, a robotics kits and a sewing machine among other trendy techno-tools. This combination of 21st century tools can be used as the mechanism for transforming creative ideas into reality.
The library was named after the legendary Fresnan, Betty Rodriguez. She was well known as the “Volunteer of Fresno,” and donated countless hours for the betterment of her hometown of Fresno, which she loved. She served on the Friends of the Fresno County Public Library Committee for years and promoted cultural awareness; successfully raising significant funds for the children’s collections. Thanks to her years of service, hundreds of children were introduced to the fun and value of reading.The grand opening ceremony was held this past month and was celebrated by hundreds. Included in the ceremony was Fresno County Supervisor Henry R. Perea, who was a vocal advocate for naming this branch in honor of Betty Rodriguez. Perea explained, “I was honored to be a part of naming the new Fresno County library after Betty Rodriguez.” He continued, “Betty was an exceptional individual who devoted her time to improving the well-being of Fresno County residents. Her life philosophy of ‘I can’t just be a member. I have to be doing something,’ is a truly remarkable belief that we should all follow.” Perea went on to say, that Betty served as an inspiration to so many generations and he was thrilled when the decision was made to honor Betty in this extraordinary way.
Molly Marquez, who also attended the opening and has since been back to this library several times, feels fortunate to have this Central Fresno jewel so readily accessible. Molly said, “I’ve always wanted to create a project that utilizes a 3D printer and I feel so fortunate to have this state of the art technology right here at my fingertips. An avid reader, I also appreciate the overwhelming selection of available books.” She continued, “From the time that we were little, my mom would always take my sister and I to the library for story time. I appreciate all that the library has come to offer and know how awesome it is to have this new branch with so many progressive tools. I look forward to taking my children here and continuing our family’s tradition of loving the library!”
According to the Fresno County Library’s information, the Betty Rodriguez Regional Library, like the other 38 libraries in the County, offers a wide selection of books, DVDs, CDs and special online services such as e-books, Reference USA, Zinnio and Freegal.
The Betty Rodriguez Library is open seven days a week.
Be a part of the future and see all that the library has to offer! For more information, go to www.fresnolibrary.org/branch/betty.html.