Templeton Community Library Project Description
The Templeton Community Library Association (TCLA) is seeking funds to initiate and complete the construction of a public library to serve the greater Templeton region. . With a prime location near the heart of downtown and local schools, the Templeton Community Library will serve as a sorely needed modern “Media and Information Center” and public venue for Templeton’s growing population, while also featuring display areas to highlight Templeton’s noteworthy history.
Located just a few miles south of Paso Robles off Highway 101, Templeton is a small-unincorporated town with a main street lined with western storefronts that reflect its rural heritage and rich agricultural traditions. The construction of the 4,207 square foot, western style single-story library building will incorporate and maximize the use of the most current technology and infrastructure needed by modern Libraries. The proposed building is planned to house 23,000 holdings. As a member of the San Luis Obispo County Black Gold Cooperative Library System, the Library will expand users’ access to an additional 434,658 volumes. The Library’s electronic information media center will provide public access to high-speed internet through wired and wireless capabilities. There will be separate adult and children reading spaces that will also serve as public gathering and information dissemination areas.
The Library will sit on just under an acre of land (.92 acres in size) directly across from Templeton High School (THS) adjacent to the Salinas River. TCLA is leasing the land from the award- winning Templeton Unified School District (TUSD) for $1 a year, under an agreement that runs for 20 years, with two 20-year renewal options. The site is ideally located in the heart of Templeton at the intersection of Main Street and Vineyard Drive, two primary roads that lead to agricultural ranches, residential districts and public facilities. It is within two blocks of the Highway 101 Vineyard exit and sits along the community’s main rural transportation corridor. Surrounded by three of the four School District campuses it is within walking distance to downtown Templeton with thriving businesses, restaurants, Templeton Park, the Community Service District Offices, a Fire Station, a Recreation Center, local preschools, and venues such as a community garden and skate park. It is also a short drive from the only hospital located in north San Luis Obispo County and the dense cluster of medical offices surrounding the hospital.
The Library will feature many green building elements for a project of its size and available resources. Architect Robert McCormick designed an upper wall of clerestory windows running the length of the building, providing an abundance of natural lighting supplemented with electric sensors that dim or increase electric light as needed. The building site will have drought tolerant landscaping and will include an educational nature trail leading down to the Salinas River that incorporates signage and displays promoting river conservation and highlighting local Native American history and culture.
This Community Library will be a valued free public resource for all age groups – from its unique site, with a remarkably convenient location and a proposed interactive Salinas River natural habitat/ecosystem learning center, to its indoor modern cultural education information sharing and gathering capabilities. It also offers an opportunity to not only display Templeton’s distinctive cultural history but also directly impact and shape the community for the future. The new Library will present a rare opportunity to showcase the small town of Templeton in ways few buildings have done in its 115-year history.
Organizational History and Purpose
In 1999, local Boy Scout Josh Gibson had the dream to build a library for his community as his Eagle Scout project. The Templeton Community Library Association (TCLA) was formed and incorporated shortly thereafter in January 2000, and now 12 years later, the seed of that dream is nearing fruition. The TCLA was granted IRS 501(c)(3) status in August of 2000 and received California tax-exempt status in December of 2002. Since 2000, TCLA has secured an amazing site and lease agreement with the TUSD, completed architectural drawings and construction plans, obtained and renewed construction permits, and conducted relentless fundraising activities. Josh Gibson, now a Templeton Volunteer Firefighter and Atascadero State Hospital Fire Chief, periodically attends TCLA functions and recently gave an additional $2,500 towards TCLA’s efforts.
The TCLA’s unpaid Board of nine Directors, (one current vacancy), meets monthly to conduct building project assessments, fundraising activities, publicity and operational reviews. To date the dedication and commitment of the TCLA Board and membership have achieved over $1,309,581 in cash and in-kind donations. As the TCLA does not have paid employees, Board members have been the driving force behind all of the organization’s planning and fundraising efforts.
The TCLA’s mission is to “establish and maintain an association of persons interested in books and libraries; to focus public attention on library services, facilities and needs; to stimulate gifts, endowments and bequests; and to build a new library.” TCLA is striving to fill the gaping hole left by the closure of Templeton’s only previous Library in 1977.
TCLA’s fundraising and educational awareness efforts have been successful – people do not ask, “Why do we need one?” Instead, they ask, “When will it be built?” The answer – when the building fund achieves its goal of $3,233,448. To date, the TCLA has accrued cash totaling $280,492 by holding community fundraiser dinners and other events each of the last twelve years as well as securing individual donations including memorials. Additionally, there have been numerous in-kind contributions from local professionals of architectural and engineering services, including an archeological survey and a “dig” of the site by Cal Poly students and local community members.
Recently, the TCLA opened a public “Book Room” on Templeton’s Main Street, that provides an interim location for community members to borrow, share, exchange and discuss popular reading materials. It also provides a central location for ongoing TCLA library fundraising and community outreach efforts. Equipped with shelving to house its collection, tables, chairs, and other reading related furniture, the “Book Room” has been quite a success – operating completely on donations. The TCLA manages the Book Room through an independent donation process, separate from construction fundraising efforts.
The 2010 US Census data shows Templeton’s population of 7,674 with a rural area surrounding the town of 2,900, making it the only community in San Luis Obispo County with a population of over 4,000 that does not have its own Library. To access the full services of a public library, Templeton residents and visitors currently have to leave the community and drive many miles to the north, south or west. Many middle school students from single-family homes and non-driving adults/seniors do not have transportation to other libraries. For extremely limited library services, community members can go to the County’s Bookmobile, which visits the community on Saturday mornings. The need for a permanent full service library for the Templeton Community is evident – in the four short hours, it is in Templeton on Saturdays, the Bookmobile averages over 200 transactions with over 969 materials checked out per month. The Bookmobile formerly served other communities, but Templeton’s usage far surpassed other stops.
The digital age has not rendered public libraries obsolete. Instead, serving as modern media centers, libraries are more than ever experiencing increased traffic and usage with less staffing, much of it volunteer.
Early and adult literacy programs, language programs, cultural and educational activities as well as access to traditional print media will be offered to library users. The facility houses a media/computer center, children’s wing, adult research/study spaces and circulation area. There are also plans for an outdoor educational component geared towards children focusing on the natural and cultural history of the Salinas River. This program will include Native American artifacts previously discovered at the site, which are now curated at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Each of the Library’s physical areas will offer resources to meet the specific needs of target segments of Templeton’s diverse community. Free public access to the media/computer center will help to close the economic digital divide for those who cannot afford internet service and/or the necessary training to use computers. Computer classes from the basics to the sophisticated will be available. Seniors not ever exposed to computers will have a comfortable place to explore modern technology. The media/computer center can also assist the area’s agriculture community in using electronic technology to identify methods and practices to support the area’s booming wine industry, farmers, cattlemen and growers and well as small businesses.
The new Library will provide the gathering spaces to meet a vital need of the widespread community by providing another venue for the rural population to connect with the ever-increasing “in-town” population core. To meet the needs of the youth and their parents, there will be toddler story times, pre-school activities, elementary-age summer reading club, and congregating times for early literacy groups, moms clubs and parent’s groups. Adult group areas can accommodate travel groups, book clubs, and specialized exhibits and presenters. Exhibit spaces are provided to display historical and cultural information specific to Templeton’s history and the Library Donors Honor Roll.
The Library will house traditional books to serve those who prefer material in print format, but it will also be a central depot for audio books, e-books, CD’s, DVD’s and other forms of electronic media such as i PODs. As a member of the Black Gold Cooperative Library System, its users will also benefit from widespread regional resource/collection sharing with both San Luis Obispo and neighboring County Libraries.
From inception, the goal of TCLA has been to build a 21st century Community Library to serve the greater Templeton region. With a site secured, completed building plans and drawings, and current County construction permits, funding is the TCLA’s only remaining challenge to break ground on this project in the spring of 2013. A contractor is committed to the project.
In 2010, the projected cost of constructing a completed library building was $2.8 million, done when the County of San Luis Obispo offered to provide the furniture, equipment, books and supplies. Today the County’s contribution is uncertain because of budget cuts. To date the TCLA has raised $1.3 million in cash and in-kind donations, all applied toward the completion of the library project.
The TCLA plans to finish a turnkey building, ready for San Luis Obispo County to install new computers, bar-coded books and start up Library personnel. Once the proposed Templeton Community Library is completed, it will become an essential anchor for downtown Templeton as a hub for community activities. Additionally the library will provide invaluable supplemental study and technology resources to adjacent schools and students especially during non-school hours, a critical need for the nearby schools. The community’s generous contributions have brought the project almost halfway to completion and TCLA continues its tireless efforts to get the Library constructed and operational. Grant requests with online submissions are a constant search for funding.