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PREZ SEZ: Joan Hayes, 2020

With the COVID-19 pandemic, like everyone else these past months, the Friends of the San Carlos Branch Library have not been able to function as we usually do.

The annual year-end SCFOL General Membership meeting was held via ZOOM on November 21.  We welcome five new SCFOL Life Members in 2020: Janet E. Britt, Gordon & Linda Gidlund,Genevieve Matherly, and Jo Matthews; bringing our total to 125 Life Members.  Their names will be added to our Winer family Community Room & Art Gallery Honor Wall display when non-library employees are once again able to use the room.

During the ZOOM annual meeting, the 2021 SCFOL slate of Officers and Board Members was unanimously accepted; the Board and Chairpersons remain unchanged from 2020.  I thank all who very graciously agreed to continue in their current positions.

Our Managing Librarian, David Ege gave an update on the current SDPL activities and services available to the public during the pandemic. Our Branch’s Contactless Pickup Service alone, has allowed about 100 patrons/day to check out library materials.  Hopefully, 2021 will bring the gradual reopening of libraries and the return of not only their previous services, but also the addition of the innovative new ones that are being developed during the pandemic.

Library Foundation CEO Patrick Stewart has reported that your contributions allowed the Library system this year to: “Purchase high-capacity 3D printers and materials so that the Library’s Innovation Lab could produce face shields and other protective equipment for San Diego’s healthcare and front-line workers ; expand the Library’s digital collection, parts of which have experienced a three-fold increase in usage during the pandemic; and, provide computers to each Library Branch so staff can produce popular online programs. Our work is not yet done!  This pandemic has proved that access to technology is not a luxury—it is a lifeline.  Your ongoing support is vital to help us address the growing digital divide and ensure that all San Diegans have the tools they need to participate in society equally. The San Diego County Office of Education estimates that nearly 100,000 students in the county lack home access to the internet or are under-connected and do not have a computer. As education, work, and community life have moved online, those who lack access to computers and the internet are left behind. More than just words, what you do today matters to someone who is looking to the Library to help them change their lives.”

Not being able to sort your donated books and hold our monthly book sales, has taken its toll on our major fund-raising activity. Hopefully, as libraries slowly begin to reopen, the Friends will be able to find a way to resume book sales in some form.  In the meantime, Friends Memberships and Donations are always welcome as we continue to meet today’s virtual needs while planning for the future.

Publicity Chair, Sue Hotz, has kept the public up to date on library news, not only from our Branch but also from the Central Library and Library Shop as well, through our SCFOL website sancarlosfriendsofthelibrary.org, and SCFOL Newsletters. More than 500 people receive SCFOL’s newsletters. Please check out our website and sign up your email to receive the Newsletters each month, as well as extra notices of time-sensitive news.  Our Branch also has a monthly column in the Mission Times Courier with updated library information, and the San Carlos Branch has its own Facebook page with librarian storytime videos as a bonus.

Ron McFee, our Book Sale Chair, has continued organizing books for storage. We cannot receive book donations at this time, but as soon as we can, notice will be given. We miss seeing all of our loyal volunteers who work so diligently on the book sales and we wish them well.  During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, SCFOL Volunteers donated 3406 hours of their time.

We have been able to have several ZOOM Board meetings so we can touch base with each other; and our managing librarian David Ege has kept the Board up to date with the extraordinary work that our SDPL employees have continued to do during the pandemic. Thanks to all of you.

The future will be ours to share. Stay masked, stay safe, and we hope to see you all at the library and at our book sales in 2021. SCFOL President, Joan Hayes.