Noe Valley Voice December-January 2004

Library Seeks New Homes for Programs

By Erin O'Briant

With the Noe Valley­Sally Brunn Library now scheduled to close for renovations sometime between April and July of 2005, staff are hustling to find accommodations for the branch's programs. They're also wondering where to park a bookmobile in space-crunched Noe Valley. Meanwhile, the campaign to raise funds for the library's interior renovation is going swimmingly.

Scouting for Space

Parents and kids will sorely miss programs such as story time, lapsits, and children's film screenings, especially since the renovations at 451 Jersey Street will take about two years. Carol Small, acting manager and children's librarian at the branch, is looking for space to continue those programs and to park a bookmobile. She has spoken with the principal of James Lick Middle School on Noe Street near 25th Street about parking a bookmobile in or near the school's lot.

"She was enthusiastic about the idea," Small says, "but there's a long process of applying for a special permit from the city to reserve that space. It's not at all settled, but it had a hopeful beginning."

The bookmobile will serve other neighborhoods as well, but will be in the neighborhood part-time to allow Noe Valley residents a local venue to request and return books.

Small's attempts to find a place to hold preschool story time and the infant and toddler lapsits have been less promising. She first tried to find a local school classroom for the programs, but found that schools are simply too crowded to accommodate even the smallest students. "They just don't have a room that's available during the time I need it," Small notes. She's now talking to two local yoga studios, and is open to other suggestions from the community.

So far, she also hasn't found anyone who can accommodate the children's film screenings. For Eureka Valley Learning Center teacher Kelly Fox, who regularly takes her charges to the movies at the library, that's a disappointment. "It's a special thing to do with the kids, and we'll really miss it." She, along with some of the youngest residents of Noe Valley, is still hoping the program can continue.

Fishing for Funds

Duncan Street resident Kim Drew is working hard to raise funds for new fixtures, computers, and other interior improvements to the branch. She is co-chair of the Noe Valley Library Campaign, a fundraising committee that began soliciting contributions in late October of 2004. They are working closely with the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

"I think we're off to a great start," Drew says. "We're slowly but surely building momentum." The residents' group Friends of Noe Valley has raised money for the branch renovations at its annual holiday parties, providing an undisclosed amount to kick-start the campaign. "We're in the 'quiet' phase of the campaign right now," Drew explains. She and other members of the committee are approaching individuals for "leadership" gifts--meaning sizable donations that will lead the way in the campaign. Some pledges have already come in, Drew notes.

Neighbors will start to hear more about the fundraising efforts soon. "It's a long campaign, so over time we'll get more and more public," Drew says. "We'll be out and about [asking for contributions]."

"We're planning a big celebration in the first quarter of next year," she says. "It'll be a fundraiser but also to celebrate the closing of the library and to generate excitement about the campaign." She's working with Small to schedule the party, but they won't know an exact date until the branch's closing date is firmed up.

To contribute to the Noe Valley Library Campaign or to get more information about fundraising efforts, contact Kim Drew at or 643-4695.