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Old Kern Treasure Extends Hours



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For those who love to read, it’s a cool fact that Kern County has several libraries around town offering resource material and a haven for bookworms. But there is one branch that truly stands out, and may not be known to those new to Bakersfield or who simply stick to the burbs. Located in Old Kern just east of downtown, the Baker Branch is unashamedly beautiful with lush Victorian flair that welcomes patrons into its cozy, book-lined domain of light-filled rooms graced with matching fireplaces, 18-foot ceilings, and intricate molded woodwork.

The Baker Branch first opened its doors in its present location in 1915, known then as the East Bakersfield branch of the Beale Memorial Library. Literally the little library that could, while it may have lost its mezzanine and the use of its fireplaces, children’s story time in the basement and men’s smoking room, it has survived the 1952 earthquake (the only public building to do so) and 1977 Dust Storm, and numerous budget cuts, including its purse-trimming move to open just one day a week. But now with a recent vote of the Board of Supervisors, Baker is slated to open two days a week, making it available for even more people to enjoy.

“It’s exciting to have a branch building that’s almost 100 years old; it’s evolved as a library but retained its beautiful architecture, and it’s still a place where you can go and read and relax,” said former Baker Branch Supervisor, Sherry Wade. “Baker has a lovely sense of community. Its neighborhood residents are loyal because so many of them grew up here and have fond memories of this library.”

The Baker Branch is at 1400 Baker Street. For more information, call 861-2390 or go to kerncountylibrary.org. Starting November 4th they will be open Mondays and Wednesdays, 11am to 7pm. 

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