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Published by the Friends of the Round Valley Public Library, a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.
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June 28, 2013 - #2

Where It All Began
For this issue I asked the two women who initiated the proposal that resulted in our new Library/Commons to tell us how it all happened. Ed TePas, Editor.

Betsy Brown

All good projects start with a seed of a good idea. And Georgina Wright planted that good seed in my head by telling me that this town needs good housing for the library. And she was right. Every community needs access to good information. And this community particularly needed a place to hold meetings and other events.

The Indian Housing Authority hired me as a construction project manager when I moved to Covelo in 2003. After that job was over the library project seemed to be a good match for my skills and interest. Here was a project that could bring the “disparate” parts of our community together.
Good ideas need good people and I was so lucky to find a good partner with Diann Simmons. We talked to many folks, studied the funding possibilities, and brought a proposal to the Friends of the Library that we felt would fly in July 2006.

It took the hard work of many folks, from this valley and all over the state, to raise the money and accomplish the task. We raised $1.2 million and spent untold volunteer hours. And now we have a wonderful library and a great community asset that should be here for our grandchildren. It shows how much can be accomplished when folks get together and stick together. (Not to be confused with if we don’t all hang together we will all hang separately.) ■

Diann Simmons

One day in the Spring of 2006 Betsy Brown called me and said she had a great idea and knew that if I would join her, we could make it happen. Betsy described the need for a new library and her vision of combining it into a larger community center facility. Since we both had a lot of experience in urban areas in construction of large projects, we knew that the cost to do it here was possible, while many local people would be discouraged at the idea of raising about a million dollars.  My affordable housing work had made me very proficient in grant writing. Tony Shaw at the County Admin. Dept., who had been trying to locate a new space for the library, told me, “If you are willing to take this on Diann, go for it!”

One of the best memories I have was the day Sidne Long and her husband Hank, from the Thomas Long Foundation, came for a site visit. They were excited the moment they walked in and saw the long table full of people representing a full range of local entities. They laughed and said, “Our first question was going to be – does this have local support? We don’t need to ask that.”They became one of our largest contributors.

A really magical memory is the first big fundraising dinner in the Community Room, with the rest of the building still in its run-down condition. The decorations were incredible as were the three local female jazz singers.

The day just before we opened the new library, with many of us working there, Tara Shannon, the locksmith, stepped inside the new front door, looked around, and said, “I feel like crying. This is such a beautiful space and all of you working together is so amazing.” Getting to know the many people involved in this project and their amazing life experiences has been great for me. ■
The Round Valley Public Library is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am-5pm.
Information to reserve the Library Commons community room & kitchen is on the Friends' website.
The Friends meet the first Thursday of each month in the community room at 5pm.  All are welcome
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