In anticipation of passing Measures F and G for long-term funding of the Loomis Library, the Loomis community has come together to re-open the library.
“The rebirth of the Loomis Library as a town library is a truly grassroots community effort,” says Bonnie London, president of the Friends of the Loomis Library.
The story, she explains, began with tireless work by Jan Chimera, former secretary of the Friends, who organized a relentless door-to-door petition drive to save the Loomis Library when the County announced in early 2015 its plans to close the branch.
When hundreds of people crowded the Loomis Town Council chambers to protest the announced library branch closing, then Mayor Rhonda Morillas appointed an ad hoc committee to study possible solutions. The original committee was formed of Bonnie London, Walt Scherer, Jean Wilson, Ramona Brockman, Jennifer Knisley, Rhonda Morillas, and Miguel Ucovich, with significant contributions from Jan Chimera and Susan Taubman.
“When it became clear that the County was determined to close the Loomis branch in spite of broad community support and local plans to provide funding,” says London, “the ad hoc committee began to research how the Town of Loomis could reopen it as a municipal library.”
Community groups rose in support. The Friends of the Loomis Library, a non-profit corporation, agreed to manage the library for the Town. The Loomis Town Council voted 5-0 to put a 1/4 cent tax measure on the November ballot as Measures F and G to fund the project.
Since then, businesses from the Loomis Basin Chamber of Commerce have offered broad support. Help has come from beyond the town itself. Lincoln and Sacramento Friends of the Library groups donated over 400 books, and have provided support and mentoring. Loomis resident Cathy Crossthwaite, program manager for the Sacramento Library, spoke at a local fundraiser and has provided mentoring support.
Local business owners and government leaders got behind the effort by supporting ballot arguments for Measures F and G as well as rebuttals. These include Loomis mayor Brian Baker, council member Rhonda Morillas, Chamber of Commerce president Bob Ferreira, Loomis Union School District trustee Ann Baker, former Loomis Fire Chief Ed Horton of Horton Farms, High Hand Nursery owner Scott Paris, Taylor’s restaurant owner Patrick Taylor, community philanthropist Grace Kamkphefner, Main Drug owner Gordon Takemoto, and Hebard Insurance owner Chris Hebard Summers. A growing list of endorsers can be seen online at www.fundyourloomislibrary.com/endorsements/
Boy Scout Jackson Davis completed his Eagle Scout project at the library recently, replanting an outside patio and placing two beautiful benches.
Members of the Friends of the Loomis Library, of course, have been at the center of the Loomis Library rebirth, donating hundreds of hours to the many projects necessary to reopen a library.
Linda Sandahl, vice president of the Friends of the Loomis Library, says, “We’ve had a small army of volunteers getting the book collection ready for reopening. Besides Friends members, several students from the Del Oro High School California Scholarship Federation chapter have been sorting books and preparing the collection for recataloging.” Owen Kittredge of Valley IT is hooking up eight computers donated by the Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic.
“When the Loomis branch was run by the County,” says Bonnie London, “we couldn’t do much local programming. But now we can serve the community with a wide variety of programs in our newly re-opened Community Room.”
Numerous organizations have volunteered to provide programs, coordinated by the Friends of the Loomis Library. These include Seniors First, the Stephanie Bellotti Teen Fund Foundation, the Loomis Basin Park and Recreation Foundation, Senior Life Center, Loomis Community Preschool, Little Orchard Preschool, Carol Pepper-Kettredge of the Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies and Hacker Lab partner, the NASA Solar System Ambassador Steven Ainsworth, and the Loomis Basin Historical Society.
The “Yes on Measures F and G for Our Loomis Library” campaign committee was formed to explain to the community the importance of passing Measures F and G. Since the beginning of October, volunteers have walked over 45 Loomis neighborhoods, meeting voters, telling the story, and urging them to vote yes on the November ballot.
Measures F and G provide for a 1/4 cent Loomis sales tax to fund the Library. Campaign committee chair Jean wilson says, “25 cents on a $100 Loomis sale of taxable items – not groceries or prescriptions – is a very small price to pay to keep a library with its many services, programs, and community room. Consider the cost to Loomis if these services are lost. Without passing Measures F and G, they are. This funding is crucial if we want to keep a library in our community.”