San Luis Obispo Friends of the Library

Supporting the SLO Library, its community and the SLO Community

Fall 2013


From the President

Although the summer months are supposed to be more relaxed, that is not always the case. As you can tell by several messages and articles in the newsletter, the Friends Board has been active and engaged in a number of areas for the past couple of months. I am very appreciative of their continuous dedication and commitment to the library, which never ceases to amaze me.

Now that summer is almost over, you can expect to see even more activity from the Friends. When the Board meets in September, we will be discussing new events and activities that will increase our visibility and support for the Library and its community. We hope to leverage our activities with National Friends of the Library Week, October 20–26, 2013.

As you all know, one of our goals this year has been to increase our membership, and this might be a good time to ask all of you to encourage your friends and neighbors who value the many services of the library to join as members. An annual family membership costs only $20, and that money directly helps us provide and enhance programs and services the library offers to the entire community. In addition to seeking new members, we are also seeking additional volunteers to manage, coordinate, and work on our activities. (See the Volunteers article.)

We have a new board member: in June, we welcomed Linda Thompson back to the board after an absence of 2 years.

As members of the board, we thank you for your continuous support, and please know that we welcome your input to our/your organization. And we hope that we can enlist your support even more by helping us obtain new members and volunteers. The more we can do, the more we can help the SLO Library.

Thank you and I look forward to seeing you at some upcoming events.

Ken Barclay

Library News

IMG_8023As many of you know, our library director, Kristine Tardiff, left in March to take a new job in Washington State. We wish her well in her new job.

Just before she left, Christopher Barnickel was hired as assistant library director, and he is filling in as SLO library director until someone new is hired for that position. Welcome, Chris!

Also, Brian Reynolds, our county library director, recently announced that he will retire in October. Thanks to Brian for all his good work on behalf of the libraries in SLO county.


From our Annual Book Sale Chairman

A Personal Reflection
by Paul Murphy, Book Sale Chair

I grew up in Brooklyn, New York in a large, close Irish-Catholic family: Murphy – Moran – Cavanaugh. I am the only member of that family who doesn’t live on the East Coast. So over the past 43 years, my wife and I and our children have visited my big family almost every summer in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. All these gatherings are filled with a warm renewal of relationships and lots of laughter.

Why would I bring my family history into this newsletter? Because the Annual Book Sale is just like the annual Murphy visits to the East Coast. The gathering of Book Sale volunteers is a family reunion. There are so many great stories (since last year) and a real sense of mutual admiration. We have a family history of working hard for the Friends of the Library. As in my family, the usual response to seeing a fellow Book Sale volunteer (after a year) is a big smile. This family history is the reason for the success of the Sale. We believe in what we are doing; we admire the dedication of our fellow workers; and most importantly, we have a sense of humor.If you would like to join the Book Sale family, contact me at 544-3033. I will add your name to our mailing list. Also, please contact me if you have books to donate to the Sale. So far, donations have been slower than usual and we would be happy to arrange a pick-up.

Finally, the 2013 Sale was one of our most successful. Together with memberships sold at the sale and books sold on eBay, net sales will be over $17,000.

Thanks again to all volunteers!

Books for Sale

My name is Laura and I am the main “stocker of the shelves” for the books that the Friends sell in the special shelves in the SLO library branch. We try hard to bring you a large variety of genres—thrillers, good fiction, and nonfiction, but we can stock only what we have been given. Please let me know what you would like to see more of—paperbacks? Hardbacks? Fiction? You can leave a message on the website or leave me a note at the library. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated.

On the average I add 30–50 books each week and I remove unsold books after 4 months. However, there has been a decline in donations of new or nearly new books, so we would appreciate any donations you would like to make!

Come in and browse!

Printed Newsletter

As we mentioned in the last newsletter, we plan to phase out mailed newsletters and take advantage of electronic delivery of the newsletters to help reduce our costs of printing and mailing. The February 2014 newsletter will be the last one we automatically mail to everyone.

If we have your email address, we will send you email notification about availability of the newsletter online on our website. If you have access to a computer and we do not have your email address, please send an email to with Newsletter as the subject so that we can add your email address to our notification list. If you do not have access to a computer and still wish to receive a printed copy, please send your name and address to SLO Friends of the Library, P.O. Box 1135, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406. Please include a request for a mailed newsletter.

In-School Reading Program, 2012-2013

IMG_1893This past May, funds from the Lucille Hale Endowment were used to buy books and book bags for 367 students at Hawthorne School. It was the fourth year Friends of the Library has supported a reading program at the school.

It’s the only one-on-one tutoring in the school (as opposed to small groups). According to the teachers, students with the FOL volunteers show more interest, try harder, and make more progress stated Principal Kirt Collins.

We are happy to celebrate with Hawthorne as their API (Academic Performance Index) score grew by 30 points in 2011-12. They scored 841; their goal was to score 800.

The program concept is simple: pair an adult volunteer with children in one-on-one reading sessions. Volunteers model the joy of reading while supporting the child’s efforts to read independently. The intention of the program is to provide a literacy experience that entices children into books and reading, supports children’s efforts to learn to read, and celebrates their successes. The program complements reading curriculum and instruction and is intended to build confident, lifelong readers who enjoy reading and use it as a tool for learning.

We are pleased to announce that Linda Thompson, former FOL president and current 2nd VP, will take up the reins from coordinator Kristen Hauber, who has resigned after 2 years of innovative service.

FOL thanks Kristen for all the hours she has put in volunteering as program coordinator. Kristen Hauber replied, “It was a great opportunity to serve all the students & teachers at Hawthorne Elementary. I am heartened to have my mentor, Linda Thompson, returning to oversee the FOL Reading Program, as she’ll continue to be a bright spot for the children and the teachers of Hawthorne. Reading with those children has been a remarkable gift for me. Thank you.”

The 17 faithful volunteers who volunteer at Hawthorne every week throughout the school year to read with students are at the center of the program. Their faithful commitment makes it a success. Special thanks to AAUW and California Retired Teachers Association for their help in recruiting volunteers. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with the students, please contact Linda Thompson at or 439-0982.

DSC_0225Dear Friends of the Library,

Thank you so much for your wonderful gift of books for the children in my class. They were all very appreciative. It was so exciting to see each little face light up as the bags were opened. The books caught and held their attention. The children were curious and engaged. As you can see from their letters, they enjoy reading their new books at home as well as at school.

We have many students at Hawthorne School whose families may not be able to afford to buy books, so this gift is so special and important. We are lucky to have kind and thoughtful friends who encourage the love of books and reading. thank you again for your generous gift.


Matsu Sklarenko
First Grade Teacher
Hawthorne Elementary School


In-School Reading Program Director, Sally Hillis, chats with students


FOL President, Ken Barclay, and FOL board member, Dawnna McDougall, hand out books to students


Students quickly start reading and sharing their new books


Library Atrium Mural – Movimiento Mundial (World Movement)

Robert Maja

Artist, Robert Maja

Last year, the SLO Friends of the Library applied for a grant from the Harold J. Miossi Charitable Trust for $18,000 as part of an art project to have a mural painted in the atrium of the SLO Library. The Friends were awarded the grant, so together with the City of San Luis Obispo and SLO Public Art, a call was made for artists to submit proposals for the creation of a mural to be painted in the atrium; after two rounds of competition, Robert Maja was chosen.

Before Robert could begin his painting, the atrium walls and lighting had to be modified, walls had to be prepared, and LED lighting to be installed. Finally, in May this year Maja began the actual creation of the mural. Working while the library was closed—evenings, weekends and holidays—he completed the mural in mid-June. Maja started by sketching the mural, then filling in the outlines of the objects and characters, and, finally, completely adding color to the entire mural. Pictures and videos showing the progress can be viewed on the Friends website.

On June 27 a reception was held to dedicate the completed mural; approximately 100 were in attendance. There were enthusiastic words of appreciation by SLO Public Art Director Shannon Bates, Friends of the Library President Ken Barclay, SLO County Libraries Director Brian Reynolds, SLO Mayor Jan Marx, and, finally, the artist, Robert Maja. Several members of the SLO City Council were in attendance, as well as Mr. Howard Carroll, Trustee of the Harold J. Miossi Charitable Trust, Friends of the Library board members, and SLO Library staff.

Maja Reception

Dedication reception attendees enjoying the mural and refreshments

The Friends wish to thank the businesses who generously contributed wine and hors d’oeuvres for the evening:

  • Sculptura Wine,
  • Splash Café,
  • Jaffe Café,
  • Petras,
  • Mama Ganouche Chocolates, and
  • SLO Arts.

The next time you are in the SLO Library, pause a moment as you observe the mural and consider these words by the artist:

“This scene depicts expressions of people from around the world. The wheel in the forefront is the principle object and a symbol of progression. I want to draw out the idea of how people move; around the world and in their communities. The palms are the landscape in the background and dispersed to show a symbol of relaxation allowing us the freedom to search for peace and tranquility. The ladder is an idea that it is possible to attain our goals just by climbing one step at a time. I want to transmit hope. As a whole, the scene is a representation of the places I have traveled and lived over the years. lt brings out a sense of community on a global scale. By using elements such as food, music, dance, and art at the core of what makes our cultures diverse, we can also demonstrate the multitude of similarities.”

For more information about the mural, there are videos, pictures , artist biography and descriptions of the mural on the SLO Friends of the Library website.

Robert Maja painting the atrium mural.

Robert Maja painting the atrium mural

SLO Friends of the Library Annual Luncheon
Guest Speaker: Leigh Rubin Noted Cartoonist


Guest Speaker, Leigh Rubin, and Luncheon Chairperson, Sally Hillis

The San Luis Obispo Friends of the Library Annual Luncheon was held on May 2, 2013 at the SLO Country Club. Leigh Rubin—cartoonist, author and speaker—was the guest speaker. Leigh, a local SLO county resident, is well known for his Rubes® cartoon which appears in major daily metropolitan papers and, of course, our own San Luis Obispo Tribune.

About 60 attendees dined on a delicious lunch of island chicken salad with tropical fruits. Guests enjoyed Leigh Rubin’s humorous presentation, which generated lots of laughter. Comments included: “I have been in a great mood ever since lunch.” “I am going to start reading the funny paper again too.” “Leigh Rubin was really terrific.” “A hit with all!”

Books were available for purchase; Leigh Rubin autographed them with the suggestion to “stay wild and twisted,” from the title of his 25th anniversary publication of The Wild and Twisted World of Rubes, a “best of” collection that contains 240 of his personal favorites out of more than 9500 cartoons.

A short business meeting was held before the talk. Three board members whose terms were up this year have elected to stay on the board, so the composition of the board stayed the same.


New Miossi Grant Awarded

In July we were notified that the Harold J. Miossi Charitable Trust approved our grant request of $19,000 for science programs and materials for the SLO Library. Specifically, the new project, “Animals Alive at the Library”, will bring hands-on, nature-based programs to the SLO library as well as update science materials, provide science literacy programs for families, and provide a permanent interactive science area in the children’s section. These programs will start this winter and culminate in May 2014. Keep checking in with the SLO branch as these programs will be listed on the website and posted in the library as well.

This is the third grant proposal that has been funded by the trust, and we are most grateful. The first proposal was for teen scientists who presented animal-based programs in 2011, and the 2012 grant provided the funds for the atrium art project. We are grateful to have received these funds for projects that would not have been possible without this funding.

Volunteers Needed

The SLO Friends of the Library recruit three categories of volunteers:

  • In-library volunteers
  • In-school reading program volunteers
  • Friends of the Library program volunteers

While we are always looking for help in all three areas, for this next year we have set goals to increase membership and donations. To do that we need more help in managing the tasks, projects, programs and campaigns of the Friends. Specifically we are interested in volunteers with skills and interests in the following areas:

  • Website Management
  • Graphics Arts
  • Public Relations
  • Event Management
  • Marketing Communications
  • Presentations
  • Project Management

If you have an interest, talent, or skills or are willing to commit your time in these or other areas, please contact us by sending an email to or call (805) 543-6247.

SLO Friends of the Library Board of Directors – 2013/2014

President Ken Barclay
1st VP Laura Lehmann
2nd VP Linda Thompson
Treasurer Suzanne Fryer
Recording Secretary Irene Ray
Parliamentarian Prisila Johnson
Webmaster Lanny Hernandez
Board Members Carolyn Carotenuti
Leslie Goetz
Sally Hillis
Jaime Juarez
Jean Kidder
Dawnna McDougall
Paul Murphy
Norie Placak
Diane Diamond