by LIZ ONUFFER
photoS by Zeena Gregg Photography

Friends of a
Well-Loved Library

Hushed voices and quiet work may be library protocol, but a little cheering and recognition is due for the Rancho Peñasquitos Friends of the Library.

The group first assembled in June 1984 and have been financially supporting the Rancho Peñasquitos Branch Library ever since. Through a combination of membership dues, sales of used and donated books and, most recently, an Amazon store for niche and rare books, the group raises around $17,000 per year. The money supplements the library and city funds to provide for new materials and popular programming, including the Annual Summer Reading Program for kids and teens.

The most visible of the group’s work is the operation of the Book Nook, located at the library and open every day the library is open. The store stocks used books with titles ranging from children’s picture books to popular fiction. Friends of the Library are always seeking new volunteers for the Book Nook; applications can be picked up at the store.

Directing the Friends of the Library is a diverse group of board members. “We have retired military personnel, financial professionals, small business owners and community activists,” shared Larry Olson, President of the Friends of the Library. The one thing they most certainly have in common is “a love of reading, meeting new and interesting people, and giving back to our community,” Larry said.

The Rancho Peñasquitos Branch Library is one of thirty-five branches of the San Diego Public Library System and one of the most popular; only three libraries in the library system have a larger circulation. Larry acknowledged the branch is “well used and well loved by its community.” And in such, it is in need of a small makeover. One of the library’s greatest needs is “an all-around refresh, including a new roof, new HVAC, paint, carpet, furniture, thorough cleaning, replacing worn out books, etc,” Larry shared. The Friends of the Library board members have their own wish list, as well: increased volunteers, more memberships, direct donations, and dedicated board members.

From meeting in an old space leased for $1 a year from Vons to the dedicated area of the Book Nook, the Friends of the Library’s progress has been great over the last three decades. The quiet work of the small group goes a long way to serve the needs of a well loved library and the well-read 92129 community.

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At-A-Glance

Group: Rancho Peñasquitos Branch Friends of the Library
Board Members: President: Larry Olson | Vice President: Linda Koligman | Secretary: Margaret Gelb
Treasurer: Jean Coddington | Book Store and Volunteer Coordinator: Sarah Clayton
Membership: Catherine Mulligan | Newsletter: Debby Tweeten
General Board Member: Keith Wong

No. of Members: 167 general members
Mission: The Friends of the Rancho Peñasquitos Branch Library is an affiliate (branch) chapter of the Friends of the San Diego Public Library. The group’s purpose is to support the development of the RP Library so that it may fulfill its goals of: creating a welcoming environment that encourages discovery, providing free and open access to materials and resources that meet the needs of the community, and engaging the community through innovating and inspiring programs and services.
Contact: Larry Olson, larrylee3986@sbcglobal.net