The $5,000 dollar Pollock Pines Library Carpet Project - Opinion FRANCESCA DUCHAMP
When did our society stop believing in goals — in possibilities? (Yes, it takes hard work, sometimes many years.) I live in Pollock Pines, a lumberman’s place. I live near Camino — people of the earth — farmers live there. Four year ago, I became a member of the Friends of the Library at Pollock Pines. Our group was the guardian of a tiny library (1,272 square feet). We were a group of four and politely asked the librarian to participate (we needed five members). Much money was left to us by the group before us … and a young girl — they had raised money to keep the library going. Our group (the four of us) decided our mission or statement as a nonprofit was to save money towards moving the library to make it more convenient to get to — more parking — more opportunities for educational programs for our 700-plus children. In not one instance did any of us want to have a library that concentrated on its looks (in other words we wanted a “working” library not a library that concentrates on book cases matching or comfortable chairs that just take up what little room there is — in my opinion).
I stepped down one year ago but never stopped talking about moving the library … this library was never meant to be a shrine. When we outgrew the first one, a second one was built … by a lumberman. It was the dream of a school board member— and I don’t know of anybody in the school system, who does not believe in educational expansion for our children (I’m an educator). I don’t care about “reading gardens”— I live in the natural paradise of the woods —just put in park benches. I live one building away from our library. For almost 14 years I have watched it — protected it — cleaned it up. I believe in books, I believe in the idea that everyone is entitled to “free” knowledge.” Sometimes late at night people are in their cars or out front, using their laptops, using the WIFI. I have worked in our neighborhood, alongside parents cleaning up bushes and trees — we want our children seen. Nobody cares if people know who we are — nobody cares about pieces of medal with our names listed or awards — we care about the children.
Back to my group’s dream of moving the library, if you are reading this, we actually came close. A much respected member of our community has land — great location — would have held the note. It was the first step and I congratulate my group on believing. Now, the sad part. Every time someone saw the amount we had — a little over $10,000 dollars — certain people would say that the people of Pollock wanted us to spend it … um. Yes, the people I talked to for three years showed interest in moving the library so they could get to it. The people of Pollock want their children (700-plus) to be able to support the work they are learning in the schools up here. And yes, they knew it would take time, money and belief. I told the group coming in the wishes of this community, but they have different beliefs. I have volunteered all my life and this is the first time I have ever disagreed with people — who are guardians of one of the oldest democratic institutions that we have in America — the free library (it is a totally American idea). But my disagreements and how I was treated and still treated is not the issue. This is the issue: I asked for donations from people for the movement and improvement of the library in Pollock Pines. I believe a public should know if the money is being spent elsewhere. I just went to their Budget/election meeting last week — where I was given their budget report that I had requested. The only thing I agree with is the money that went to the children’s program. The one thing that stood out when I got home was the expense for the carpet — at the library I was focused on another issue (the $5,000 we put away into a CD for movement) so I had read carpet but not the amount. It was $4,998.35 dollars. What? So I followed the money — on March 13, 2012 the director went before the Board of Supervisors. “Library Director recommending approval of attached budget transfer increasing revenues and appropriations by $5,000 for carpet replacement at the Pollock Pines Library as a result of a donation received from the Friends of the Library (4/5 vote required). Funding: Donations.” (Unquote File #:12-0194 Version: 1 ) It was approved and passed. Pollock pines is not its own district — we are part of Placerville. We were gathering our own money for the first steps of movement — why would we do a donation like that? Why didn’t the county help? (County building, county maintenance.) Many people — business and residential — offered to fix and paint the library. Our group was told “no,” it’s a county building. I’m confused.
The new FOL group spent about $10,000 dollars this year. Our library is now a “cute “library. Our library is 1,242 square feet. The public in Pollock Pines would not spend this kind of money on a “carpet” project — not on a library that doesn’t even have parking, not in this economy, not when our bread lines are getting longer.
I have made my views known to the people that are supposed to listen — they did not. This community is patient. They are hardworking and quiet-in the respect that they do what is needed to be done (no one cares about awards or names on strips of metal). I asked for movement and enlargement of the library. Not for matching bookcases, really expensive carpet or landscaping (we have natural landscaping — one just needs to trim it). Well there you go. I want to say congrats again to my group (we almost did it), thank you to the people in my community that believed, thank you to the wonderful person who could have worked with us on the property, and most important, to the young man that bought me six cents for the big new library someday. In closing, I would like to quote the lumberman that built both our libraries — out of kindness. When Pollock outgrew the first building, Mr. West SR. was asked how they could expand the building. His reply was, “Wouldn’t it be better to make a new one?” We need money saved to move the library. This was what I asked of our community — even my goodbye fundraiser was about bringing our nonprofits and businesses together under one roof to work on this goal. We were told would need $1.2 million — every dollar was a step towards that. We left them $13,000(plus). Every dollar is a step. January 31, 2012 they started with $17,000 plus dollars. Every dollar is a step.