SOPPL/ Advocacy Update: Where we are today, and the Path Forward
A Time for Hope, not Complacency
Our joint event this summer, held at the library on September 5th and in conjunction with all other library groups, was celebrating the addition of 9 hours of Open time per week. Most emphatically, we are not out of the woods yet. PPL’s budget is less than a third of what it was 6 years ago. We’ve gone from having a woefully meager Books and Materials Budget, to having none. Staffing has been reduced from 40 in ’07-08, to 12 (all of whom are part timers); and no Director. We are celebrating increasing PPL’s hours to 29 per week, but it’s down from the more customary 54 hours of 6 years ago. I randomly checked out hours for libraries in surrounding communities: Claremont=54, Diamond Bar=51, Chino Hills=60, LaVerne=50, and Upland=42. Advocacy’s message: this is a time for hope, but not complacency. And something our group feels quite confident about after all our time spent with community groups: Pomona citizens do value literacy and our library.
The Advocacy gang has had a busy summer. We’ve focused aggressively on community outreach: educating the public about valuable services PPL provides, encouraging more citizens to obtain and use library cards, encouraging Pomona students to get cards and avail themselves of services, and laying groundwork for placing an initiative on the November 2014 ballot.
We’ve done this by attending many community events, both inside and outside our library. Summer kicked off for us with a June 8th event inside the library and co-chaired by our own Alice Gomez. We had a well-attended, standing room only book signing about Mexican American baseball players from earlier decades. Collaboratively, the trustees hosted an Open House with refreshments for library users, particularly those who had recently obtained library cards.
Additionally, we participated with a booth at the Camp Out on the Fairgrounds hosted by Pomona law enforcement for students of PUSD. We had a bookmark making art project for students, and everyone had a great time! It’s hard to compete, fun-wise, with an organization that lands a helicopter, sends in a SWAT team, and enters with a lights flashing, sirens blazing fire truck—all in the middle of an event for 9-12 year olds. Where were these guys when I was teaching middle school?
We also had tables set up at all Ganesha Park summer concerts, and participated in the Pomona Day Parade. Among events we are planning: participation in Art Walk on Second Saturdays in the Downtown area and Meet-&-Greets within the community. Hot tip: the live music at the Art Walk is genuinely awesome, and multiple generations of families appear to enjoy it. DPOA’s shuttle joyfully transports art lovers around town. Pomona’s Downtown is looking vibrant in a way that would have been hard to envision a few years back, which makes it all the more imperative for our library to undergo the same transformation.
Another hot tip: O’Donovan’s Irish Pub will be opening officially on September 24th. It’s been open unofficially for the past week and a half. For those who have not been following, it is located in the historic Mayfair Hotel, on the corner of 3rd and Garey. The building has been lovingly restored, with student apartments above the restaurant/ pub. Many of us in Advocacy have been in to check it out and are quite impressed. We’re hoping for O’Donovan’s to be the site for our first restaurant fundraiser, and owner Mark Drury is enthusiastic as well. We’d expected to be organized earlier on this, but O’Donovan’s had some licensing glitches that have since been worked out. We’re giving Mark a week or two to get the pub going, and then I’m getting in touch with him to plan our event. O’Donovan’s looks like it is going to add to the revitalizing spirit of Downtown, and the staff is particularly warm and helpful.
Early fundraising will be our next big push, so please be watching for our events.
Coordinator, SOPPL/ Advocacy