Friends of La Mesa Library Board Members

Back Row: Bob Thatcher, Treasurer;  Deborah Ives, VP & Bookstore Mgr.;  Lyn Dedmon, City Ex-officio;  Eileen Schmitz, Secretary;  Bob Duff, IT Coord.
Front Row: Joyce Purcell, Membership Chair;  John Schmitz, President;   Heather Pisani-Kristl, Library Ex-officio

President's Message

May 1, 2016

Thank you for taking the time to visit our web site and to look for information about the Friends of the La Mesa Library. The first thing you should know is that the Friends of the La Mesa Library, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation (Tax ID # 33-0638967). All dues and donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

I am writing this in the midst of a heated general election season on the national level, but there is an important issue here in La Mesa that I want to bring to your attention: What should the central part of La Mesa look like in the years ahead? The City of La Mesa is putting the finishing touches on improvements to the downtown village streets and has begun looking at the options for changes to the Civic Center block bounded by Allison Avenue, Spring Street and University Avenue. Should the Kitzman property (at the corner of El Cajon Blvd. and Baltimore Dr.) come back with a new redevelopment proposal, the central part of La Mesa could look significantly different five to ten years from now.

The goal of the Friends of the La Mesa Library is to make sure that any plans for changes in Downtown La Mesa include more space for our community library. Some have asked: why do we need more space since the building is so new and spacious looking? To that I reply that it is because the current building was not designed as a library, it was designed as a big box that would serve temporarily as a library. The City’s original Civic Center Master Plan envisioned a much larger library building in this block with enough space for reading, research, educational programming and cultural events. The current building does not allow these events to occur simultaneously due to noise and congestion issues.

Since last summer, I have been attending City meetings and other La Mesa events to monitor discussions and remind everyone about the Friend’s concerns about the future of our library. Some residents have asked what they can do to show support for this position. I generally reply with two recommendations:

1) Join the Friends of the La Mesa Library - Having a large dues-paying membership lends credence to our position when any of the board members speak in a public setting. If you also wish to financially support future efforts to improve the library, our membership form allow you to donate additional money which can be earmarked for specific programs or needs.

2) Contact the La Mesa Mayor and City Council members to let them know of your concerns. La Mesa is small enough that your voice is heard and can help the Council make relevant decisions.

I would also like to thank our dedicated volunteers who operate the Bookstore every day that the library is open. This is our largest revenue source. Volunteers make it possible for the Friends to donate thousands of dollars each year for materials and programs that are focused on the needs of La Mesa. When it is time for you to clear out your home library collection, please consider donating your gently used books to us. You may give them to a library staff person at any time.

If you have any questions or comments about how the Friends are doing, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] .

John Schmitz