President's Message

December 15, 2021

Happy Holidays to all! It is the time of year to take stock of our organization. The following are the highlights of where we are and where we seem to be going:

Friends News & Activities

  • Library Task Force. The City of La Mesa has appointed a seven-member citizens Library Task Force to research options for expanding the La Mesa Branch of the San Diego County Library commensurate to our Community’s size. At our August General Membership meeting, I was appointed to the spot designated for the Friends. These meetings are virtual so that the public can participate. You can watch the first meeting here and learn more about the task force here.
  • Book Sales. Book sales suffered during the pandemic. But, thanks to the efforts of Board Members Jon Lange and Justin Walker, we successfully sold several books and DVDs online. Our brick-and-mortar book sales are increasing, with our bookstore now back open in the afternoons and on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Kudos to Bookstore Manager Robin Theilman and our wonderful bookstore volunteers for making this possible. If you would like to help with the bookstore, please leave your contact information with a bookstore attendant or a library staff member.
  • Amended Bylaws. At the General Membership meeting, the Friends’ bylaws were amended to require quarterly rather than monthly board meetings. The pandemic taught us that the Board could communicate effectively by email and virtually manage our organization.
  • Annual Budget. The Friends’ 2021-22 budget was based upon assumptions about our COVID-influenced revenue and expenses. The Board understood that the budget might need to be revisited and amended if our estimates were inaccurate. Thankfully, that has not been the case thus far. The Board and library staff discussed the budget at our December 2nd meeting, and we agreed that no formal amendments were necessary.

Library Operations

  • Hours & Programs. We are hopeful that the library will soon add more hours and provide even more services and programming for our Community.
  • Staff Changes. Our branch has had some notable changes in staff this year, starting with the head librarian. At the beginning of 2021, Chelsie Harris was promoted to a Principal Librarian position at Headquarters. We now have Jenne Bergstrom as our Head Librarian and Sara Nielsen as our new Children’s Librarian. Many staff members are still familiar faces, but some newcomers will appear as the County Library system adjusts to transfers, promotions, and departures.
  • Library Services. The County Library is constantly improving its services. They recently upgraded their website and replaced their book sorting system, significantly improving the turnaround time for reserved materials.
  • Computers. You may have noticed new desktop computers in our library and a new system for checking out laptops. Staff asked the Friends to help fund a new child-friendly terminal in the children’s area. That should occur early in the new year.

Your Support Keeps This Engine Running!

There are several ways you can support the Friends and our library:

  • Donate to the Friends online. Your secure donations contribute to the library’s ongoing collection and facility needs. Learn more at
  • Donate from an IRA Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). For those who have reached the age that requires distributions from an IRA, current law allows for tax-free charitable donations from the RMD. Check with your financial advisor to see if tax implications work for you to donate to the Friends or other charitable organizations.
  • Corporate Matching Gifts. Many companies match employee donations to non-profits. This means your donation could provide even more library materials, programs, and services for our Community. We encourage you to check with your boss or HR department to see if your company has a matching gift program.
  • AmazonSmile: You Shop. Amazon gives. You can always generate additional donations by shopping at, whereby Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the Friends. AmazonSmile is a free program where you will find the same low prices, vast selection, and convenient shipping options using your existing Amazon account. To participate, please visit and select “Friends of the La Mesa Library Inc.”
  • Finally, become a member or renew your Friends of the La Mesa Library membership today.

Sincerely, ­John Schmitz, President