The goal of this proposal is to raise funds to build a community library in Templeton. To do this, the Templeton Community Library Association (TCLA) must secure $670,000 for Phase I and have building underway by April 2012. The TCLA received a minor use building permit from the County of San Luis Obispo that will expire unless construction progress is underway at the designated site by the spring 2012 deadline. Templeton residents need a library that draws together a range of community members into a shared learning and imagination space.
Although a building permit has been granted for a new library, time is running out to secure funding to construct the building. Every step has been carefully addressed and planned by the TCLA and coordinating agencies: now the project can finally secure the construction funding. If the minor use permit for the project expires without progress underway on the construction of the building, this would present a significant setback to the grassroots effort and would essentially reset the entire project.
The Need for a Library in Templeton
Students of all ages, parents, teachers, seniors, job seekers, new readers and English learners in Templeton need a 21st century library with adequate learning spaces for expanding minds and horizons. In the past, the County Free Library provided library resources and a reading room on Templeton’s Main Street. However, since closing in 1977, Templeton’s only library option between Paso Robles and Atascadero has been a Black Gold Library System bookmobile visiting one time per week. While the bookmobile definitely fills a need today in the Templeton community, its small size does not encourage lingering to read and explore other books on the shelf. Furthermore, a bookmobile cannot provide the computers that serve as the beating heart of today’s California libraries. Only through free shared use of library computers can seniors and lower income residents access online education products and other tools for success. Free access to education via library computers can help encourage curiosity and academic achievement in Templeton’s citizens of all ages which ultimately contributes to a healthy, productive community.
Templeton is a quickly growing community. In 1977, Templeton had one rural route for postal delivery while today it has eight rural routes. In 1988, this unincorporated area hosted just 800 residents while today it has more than 7000, a growth of 875% over 23 years. Signs on Highway 101 that still list Templeton’s population at 2,900 illustrate the rapid pace of Templeton’s growth: today, more than 2000 children participate in the Templeton Unified School District (TUSD). Despite this community’s growth, Paso Robles plans to eliminate some public transportation routes to Templeton, further complicating transportation for those citizens wishing to access library resources via public transit.
A local library with safe access will address a number of issues in the Templeton community. Both youth and adults can experience a 21st century library experience locally rather than arranging transportation to libraries in neighboring towns or foregoing the library altogether. Children will have a safe study space after school as well as a location for summer reading programs to encourage learning. With a library, this growing community can access library resources for English learners, job opportunities and training, and community synergy in a way the bookmobile cannot. Low-income residents will have increased access to technology, especially children who must review homework and grades online or risk falling behind in class. Of the students enrolled in the TUSD, 16.2% live in families with incomes that fall below the poverty level. Among adults, the poverty rate in Templeton is 32%. A comfortable quieter space for adults and seniors is situated on the other side of the library from the children’s section. Seniors may benefit from contact with younger people as well as the variety of hard copy and electronic resources in the library to keep them stimulated and intellectually active.
Collaboration and Community
The Templeton Community Library already enjoys many successful collaborations. The TCLA plans to join the Black Gold Cooperative Library System. The TCLA members continue to meet with the presidents of the various “Friends of the Library” chapters in SLO County to brainstorm fundraising ideas. They also meet with architect Robert McCormick and a host of engineering firms, surveyors, and scientists who have collaborated well over the first dozen years of this project. Community businesses will be encouraged to support their neighbors and customers in this endeavor.
Libraries gather residents of all ages in a stimulating space to better themselves and the community as a whole. Without spaces to learn, reflect, and congregate, a town can fracture into small cliques or groups at the post office, gas station, or restaurants. While these places may be useful for casual interaction, they are not spaces that facilitate genuine learning and experience in the way public spaces such as a library or town square help citizens make connections across boundaries. The future Templeton Library is expected to be a gathering place for the community. Without a public library building for 34 years, Templeton’s capstone building will complete the system: theirs is the only community in the whole of San Luis Obispo County without a library. By developing the library with the most current technology, the Templeton Community Library can serve as a model for using the latest digital and hard copy information and technology for a changing Central Coast community.
The Time is Now to Raise the Library
We must secure funding for the building’s construction or face the possibility of new permit applications. The architectural design will also need to evolve expensively through the two sets of code changes that have been instituted since the first permitting request. TCLA has pledges from before the economic crisis and will re-contact and re-new those in-kind offers now that construction is on the horizon. As of May 2011, the donated professional services for this project amount to some $181,200. The proceeds from many book sales, auctions, BBQs and other fundraising efforts over the years add to several larger personal contributions for a current total of $239.240. Many new local businesses are now stakeholders in the library because they would enjoy indirect benefit from the development of such a public facility in this prominent point in town at the southeast corner of Vineyard and Main. Our community is committed to building this long-hoped-for library.