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Whitaker advocates re-opening Hunt Library during monthly Talks Around Town

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The shuttered Hunt Library played host to community members Sept. 24, where Mayor Bruce Whitaker advocated re-opening the library to serve Southwest Fullerton.

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"I think this is a space worth saving. I've fought for it every year I've been on council. I want to use it for its highest purpose," Whitaker said.

Thirty members of the public were present, who were sad that the library had closed recently. Many cited events they've been to at the site over the years and hoped the city would keep the property to at least lease out.

The Hunt Branch Library was dedicated to the city in 1962 by the Hunt Foods & Industries Foundation headed by Norton Simon, according to the city's Web site. It was designed by architect William L. Pereira, who also designed the Disneyland Hotel and the Transamerica Pyramid.

Pieces of Simon's famed art collection hung inside the library and were displayed outside. The art collection would also be on display during the city's annual Night in Fullerton.

Vince Buck, library board member, said at the meeting that the board also wants the library open. He also said that the board only voted for a temporary closure, which he said the board was told would be 3 weeks.

The library board voted March 28 to temporarily close Hunt Branch Library in what the board was told was a safety issue for staff due to a growing homeless population camping behind the library. The city council voted June 4 to close the library and begin the process of leasing the property to Grace Ministries International, Hunt's neighbor. Council postponed their decision to lease the property until next month.

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