News from PG Friends

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Met the Author - Susan Sherman

Forty-six book lovers gathered on the evening of June 22 at the Pacific Grove Library to hear author Susan Sherman talk about her enthusiastically-reviewed novel, "If You Are There". The evening began with Stacey Wiens of the Library staff providing updates on the Library and its programs. Notable was news that renewal of the library has commenced, with the dual goal of restoring its original beauty and providing 21st century facilities. Then, Barbara Moore, chair of the Meet the Author Committee, introduced Susan Sherman. Sherman’s novel is set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when science was making great advances at the same time that belief in spiritualism was considered legitimate by many. The heroine of the novel is a Polish immigrant to Paris who works for Marie and Pierre Curie as they discover new elements and radioactivity by day, and research spiritualism by night. The author read two scenes, one a gripping narration of a seance being observed by the Curies, and another a touching dialogue between Marie Curie and her servant, the two Polish immigrants finding a relationship as Marie described the stellar constellations. In the question and answer period that followed the author’s talk, the depth of Ms. Sherman’s knowledge about the 19th Century fin de siècle was obvious. She pointed out that photographs of that era are available and said that she makes extensive use of them for background material of her novels. She also noted that she finds the Baedeker travel guides of that time a rich resource for descriptions of life as it was then lived. The evening ended with refreshments and a book signing.

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Summer Reading Program

The Summer Reading Program at Pacific Grove Library has started! Young people ages 2-15 are invited to Build a Better World!
You can sign up any time before Monday, July 17. The program ends Monday, July 31.

How to Start?
Pick up your Reading Log 
when you sign up at the Library. Use the Reading 
Log to record the books you read or books 
that are read to you over the summer. Chapter book readers should record pages read. 
25 pages equals 1 book. So join the Reading Team! Prizes are awarded at 10, 20, 30, 
40 & 50 books, and for each 50 books after that. Library staff and volunteers are generally able to help you during library open hours. Participants may also attend the Library's special programs on Wednesday afternoons.

SUMMER READING Program 2017 Calendar
Thursday, June 1st - Sign Up Day!
Wednesday, June 7, 2:00 pm 

Sterling the Bubblesmith - Bubbles!
Wednesday, June 14, 2:00 pm 
The Fratello Marionettes - Puppets
Wednesday, June 21, 2:00 pm 

Adventure Theater - You are the stars!
Wednesday, June 28, 2:00 pm 

Daffy Dave Comedy, Magic & Juggling
Wednesday, July 5, 2:00 pm 

Stories Around the World - Miss Lisa
Wednesday, July 12, 2:00 pm
Magical Moonshine Theater - Puppets
Wednesday, July 19, 2:00 pm

Mr. Chris - the PG Music Man!
Wednesday, July 26, 2:00 pm
Animals of the World - Monterey Zoo

The Summer Reading Program is sponsored by The Friends of Pacific Grove Library.

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Stay in Touch, Steven!

The atmosphere at the Pacific Grove Library was bittersweet on Friday, May 12, as friends and associates celebrated Steven Silveria's retirement.  The Friends served up their usual elegant sweet and savory tidbits; the wine flowed; and the harpist played.  Tributes to Steven emphasized his vision for the Library's role in the community, expressed most clearly in the creation of the Library Renewal Project.  He leaves just as the project begins in earnest, but we know where he lives.  And, if we need sage advice, we'll be knocking.  Thank you, Steven.   

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Life in PG Book project

The deadline to submit your story has been extended to June 25. Don't miss the chance to leave your mark on Pacific Grove history.

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Met the Author - JoAnn Semones

The ghost of captains past visited the library in the lecture presented on April 27 by maritime historian JoAnn Semones.

In the days when California was part of Mexico, Monterey was a supply port for passing ships who anchored to buy or trade in whale oil, animal skins and food stuffs.
 With the discovery of gold and California statehood in 1850, ship traffic increased. Because these ships followed the coastline closely to avoid getting lost in the open sea, they often foundered on the hidden reefs and rocks of Pt. Pinos. The lighthouse in Pacific Grove was built to guide ships around the danger, but high seas, gale winds, heavy fogs and human error continued to cast the ships upon the rocks with the loss of life and cargo.

Among the early visitors to the lighthouse was Robert Louis Stevenson who found his way for a visit with the first lighthouse keeper. Another literary figure, Sir Walter Scott, was honored by a line of ships called the Waverly ships after the famous books by Sir Scott. These ships, built in England of iron rather than wood, proved seaworthy, but not against the rocks of Pt. Pinos where one of them sank.

An engaged audience listened to these and other stories about history on our coastline and peppered Ms. Semones with questions and comments. With four books in print and a fifth scheduled to appear shortly, Ms. Semones observed that she enjoys writing non-fiction for the immediacy of the human experience and the contact with real people whose activities shed some light on the past.

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New Exhibition in the Hauk Gallery - "The Last Home Town"

Residents and visitors alike happily embrace Pacific Grove as “America’s Last Hometown”.  Stunning beaches, rich history, a charming downtown, an abundance of Victorian architecture and of course, Monarch butterflies, all conspire to make Pacific Grove one of the most idyllic towns on the west coast. These features also make it one of the most paintable and painted towns on the west coast.  The Pacific Grove Library’s permanent collection of art features many paintings of our idyllic and paintable town. These will be on display in the Library's Hauk Gallery until the beginning of June.

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A Special Gift from Gregory Kondos

In late November, Sacramento artist Gregory Kondos and family members presented a painting of author John Steinbeck's cottage to the Pacific Grove Public Library. Kondos said he created the painting in memory of Nancy Hauk, a friend and former student. Nancy Hauk, who died in July, was an artist and former Library board member. The painting, an oil on canvas of the Steinbeck cottage on 147 11th Street where the Nobel Prize author wrote Of Mice and Men among other works, was taken from photographs before the house was recently renovated. The painting was presented to Linda Pagnella, the Library's retiring Circulation Supervisor. Kondos is a member of the National Academy of Design. His work has been exhibited throughout the world. This is the second contribution from Mr. and Mrs. Kondos to the Library. They were also members of the group that commissioned the beautiful benches that now adorn the Hauk Gallery. The Kondoses have a second home in Pacific Grove.

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PG Writes!
"Life in the Grove" sketch by Keith Larson

Free Guided Autobiography Classes

Sponsored by the Pacific Grove Public Library and Park Place Publications

Third Thursdays Each Month
2016: Oct. 20, Nov. 17, Dec.15.
2017: Jan. 19, Feb. 16, Mar. 16, Apr. 20, May 18
2:30–4:30 p.m.
Little House in Jewell Park

Participants will write and share stories about their life in Pacific Grove, using the Guided Autobiography Method for Memoir. Nine different themes will be presented, a different one per class, throughout the course.  A book will be published of PG Stories in Fall 2017 and all proceeds from the sale will benefit the Pacific Grove Library.

Facilitator, Patricia Hamilton • Classes are free and all materials are provided
Space is limited.  Go to to register.

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Pacific Grove works to restore Andrew Carnegie-designated library

By Carly Mayberry, Monterey Herald, 09/08/16

While it’s been through its fair share of incarnations, the Pacific Grove Public Library is in the midst of a renovation designed to restore it to its original glory. “The idea is to bring it back to what it might have been,” said Steven Silveria, director of Pacific Grove Library and Information Services.

Since opening in 1908, the Andrew Carnegie-designated library, which originally included the library’s gallery, reading room and rotunda, received its first addition of a men’s smoking room in 1926. Then came a designated children’s room in 1938 followed by expansions in 1950 and 1978. While current patrons still use some of the same tables and chairs that were there since 1908, somewhere along the way the original Douglas fir floor was covered with carpet while the building’s interior stained wood and arches were covered with paint. The original chandeliers somehow disappeared.
Yet the gallery portion that Carnegie helped fund remained. Carnegie was an industrialist who made his riches in the American steel industry. Later in his life his philanthropic efforts included the establishment of public libraries throughout the United States. The P.G. Library is the only Carnegie building in this region that continues to function as a public library.

Silveria said that when he became director three years ago, the library was well used and crowded. He and others overseeing the library examined what needed to be done to accommodate users but also to reclaim its original character. “We have a lot of visitors — the average is 500 in a day,” said Silveria. “So it’s just time to refresh things.” That means new carpet, paint, renovated restrooms and restoring wood where it’s needed. While the outside painting and landscaping began in the summer of 2015, the Nancy and Steve Hauk gallery has also been completed. But everything else — other than the American Disabilities Act updates, including a wheelchair lift by the library’s back door and an access ramp by an exit door — are underway. Silveria said other interior work should begin at the first of the year and may take a few months to complete since it will be done in phases so the library can be open through most of the construction. All of the renovations are now possible because of the recent approval by the P.G. City Council of an agreement between the Pacific Grove Public Library Foundation and Friends of the Pacific Grove Public Library to accept funds that had been raised to support building upgrades.

“The library is something that P.G. people treasure,” said Susan Steele, president of Friends of the Library. “It’s so interwoven with the community. It’s a place that everyone uses. It’s the only place that people go to that’s free.” Steele said that the completed gallery will serve as an example of what they want the rest of the Carnegie section of the library to look like. Since 1974, the volunteer-based nonprofit that Steele presides over has helped to keep the library alive. The organization, which includes a board of 12 and 430 members, has made an annual commitment to the library of $35,000 to $40,000 for books and materials and $5,000 for children’s programs. “Friends of the Library has been the single reliable source for books and materials that the library has been using for the last six to seven years,” said Steele. The city of Pacific Grove provides for the library’s basic operating costs. Now, as part of the renovation, Steele and her bevy of volunteers are also overseeing the creation of three replica chandeliers that are modeled after the originals that once hung. That’s while they prepare for an upcoming art exhibition and juried art show that will take place in the library’s gallery in early October. “But we don’t want to hang them (the chandeliers) until the rest of the renewal is done,” said Steele.

“It’s really a great project and it’s going to bring back the feel of this building,” said Silveria. “Our goal is to really make it seem like opening day 1908.”

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Consider Donating Your Collections to the Friends

If you’ve spent any time in the Pacific Grove Library this past month, you probably noticed the beer mugs and steins for sale in a display case.  Or maybe you bought one, since they have been practically flying out of the Library.

The mug and stein collection donated by Russell and Reitha Weeks will generate roughly $200 in support for the P.G. Library. If you have a collection of interesting and gently-used items that can fit in one of the display cases, consider donating them to the Friends so their sale can keep the Library healthy.  It’s definitely a win/win situation.

Oh, and we still have a few mugs for sale from $5-$10. Come and buy one before they're all gone. The Friends thank Russell and Reitha Weeks for their generous donation and for giving us a fundraising idea we hadn't thought of before.