Paper-Backed By The Community: Tehama County Library is Fundraising for New Building


When Librarian Sally Ainsworth first got news that the Tehama County Library, located in Red Bluff, needed to vacate their current building to make way for a jail expansion, she quickly viewed the move as a blessing in disguise.

The library has seen a steady increase in patronage and had begun to outgrow the facility in which it’s served the community for nearly 30 years.

After exploring around 37 different possible sites and holding community meetings, Ainsworth – and her committee of several Tehama County board associates and supervisor members – found a solid home in the current Red Bluff Daily News building on Diamond Avenue, which was purchased by the county for $500,000.

art-1215-lib2After closing escrow, they began to plan a full remodel of the space, from the ground up, to suit their current needs. The new library, designed by JK Architecture Partnership, will cost $6.7 million and is designed to be a community hub. In it, young children, teens and senior patrons alike will be able to utilize the different services the library has to offer within distinct spaces.

Plans include a children’s area with storage for spur-of-the-moment crafts, access for outdoor learning, and a technology center with updated educational tools. All children- and teen-oriented spaces in the new library are being designed to be in complete line of sight from the staff service area, and the library plans on introducing meeting rooms with glass walls for those who need quiet environments.

“I want the kids to come in and have fun and not worry about noise,” said Ainsworth. “Senior patrons so enjoy being able to see the kids playing and getting excited about reading. We want everyone to be involved in the everyday running of the library and what goes on in the library.”

The Tehama County Library is more than just a house for books. The building hosts activities like Story Hour every Wednesday morning, community gatherings, and student tutoring. The dedicated staff also participates in outreach within local schools, playgroups and Head Start programs to encourage early and ongoing reading.

The library staff is currently working on updating and expanding the children’s book selection and enhancing their extensive labeling system that includes Accelerated Reader program grade-level labels, and holiday-related labels. They will also be updating their popular “activity boxes,” which are filled with themed books and activities – from coloring pages to puppets – to encourage parent-led storytimes at home.

“We’re very fortunate that we’re heavily used and the people in Tehama County know the value of a library,” said Ainsworth.

art-1215-lib3The McConnell Foundation has awarded the library a $500,000 grant towards the remodel and Tehama County is designating $4 million toward the project. The remaining balance for the project is being raised by community donations and additional grants.

“We love the new location, and the connection between the former newspaper building and future reading and literacy,” says Shannon Phillips, vice president of operations and director of program services for The McConnell Foundation. “We feel like the new library will quickly become a community gathering place and exceed all of the expectations of those who are working so passionately on this project.”

Through the generosity of public donations and fundraisers, the library has raised $12,460 so far. Of those donations, $1,000 each came from the families of Tehama County Supervisors Dennis Garton and Steve Chamblin. A donation of $500 came from Tehama County Purchasing Agent Julie Sisneros and $250 was donated by Tehama County Chief Administrator Bill Goodwin.

The library still has a long way to go in getting to their fundraising goal and is actively looking for donations to help make their plans a reality. Glass meeting rooms are available for sponsorship, as are many decorative pieces within the new building. Organizations and businesses that want to help with a donation or schedule a presentation are encouraged to contact Sally Ainsworth at

Families and individuals interested in making a donation can mail them to 645 Madison St., Red Bluff, CA, 96080. Donors are encouraged to drop by the library so staff can thank them in person.

For up-to-date information on the library’s building plans and fundraising efforts, visit the “Tehama County Friends of the Library” Facebook page.  

Upcoming at Tehama County Library:

  • Holiday-themed Story Hours: Wednesdays in December, 9:30am.
  • Ornament and Cookie Decorating Fun: December 5, 1-3pm.
Christina Gutierrez
About Christina Gutierrez

Author Christina Gutierrez is a mom and Tehama County resident. She is passionate about her community, multi-platform storytelling, and finding ways to connect with other mothers.

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