our history

The Basics

The Friends of the Pacific Grove Public Library was incorporated in 1974 for the following purposes: to maintain an association of persons interested in the Pacific Grove Public Library; to focus public attention on the library; to stimulate the use of the library’s resources and services; to solicit and encourage gifts, endowments and bequests to the library; to support and cooperate with the library in developing library services and facilities for the community; and to support the freedom to read as expressed in the American Library Association Bill of Rights (1974 Articles of Incorporation). These purposes are reiterated in the 2011 Restated Articles of Incorporation.

The Beginning

Forty years ago the city librarian, Mrs. Margaret McBride, had an idea. She envisioned a Friends group that would support the library. In the first Friends newsletter Mrs. McBride articulated her vision. “I can truly say that the foremost reason for my feeling that there was a need for this group was simply that it seemed that the community should be allowed and encouraged to become more involved in library activities; that we at the library ought to do more to make known what services we already have to offer and investigate the possibilities of expanding our services.”

On January 9, 1974, our local Friends of the Pacific Grove Library was officially formed. The first Friends book sale was held three months after its formation, and within months there were over 100 members. During the first year, the Friends started a shut-in service providing books to senior citizens who found it impos- sible to get out of their home and go to the library.

In the mid 1970s, the Friends supported a bond measure to fund an expansion of the Library. In a foreshadowing of what was to happen over 30 years later with Measures J (in 2009) and Q (in 2010), the measure received 65 percent of the vote but failed to reach the critical two-thirds level by 95 votes. A year later the Library was able to get a federal grant for the expansion, and in 1978 the most recent addition on the Library’s south side was completed.

Mrs. McBride was pleased with her brainchild. “It has been so gratifying simply to find more than 100 persons eager to be Friends of the Library. That you have turned out to be possessed of so many talents and so willing to share them has been a real bonus. The mere fact that we have an active and growing association has helped carry the message to the community that there is a library in Pacific Grove, and that something is going on in it.” 

Early Days

The first by-laws established four classes of dues:

individual membership  $1.00
family membership   $5.00
business firms, organizations, and civic clubs   $10.00
supporting members   $25.00

Second Treasurer’s Report – January, 1976

Beginning balance  $791
Income  $3,115
  annual book sale  $1,527 
  memberships  $848
  donations  $423
  sales  $227
  interest  $90 
Expenditures  $2,744
  Operating expenses  $507 
     (printing, postage etc.)
  Purchases for Library $1,737
       (drapes, floor cushions,
         microfiche kit, printing,
         historical materials,
         signage)
  Investment purchases $500 
Ending balance  $1,162

First Directors of the Friends 

Lawrence H. Chamberlain
Robert Yocum
Patricia Peart
Patricia Drakos
Wallace Bryant
Tony Lobay
Elgin Hurlbert
Verne Williams
Helen Gordon
Anita Church