1971 - Friends of the Library (FOTL) was formed in July 1971 as a non-profit organization to raise funds to purchase books and other materials not in the library's budget. The group was created by Charlene Bauer and Rhoda Martyn. The initial advisory board consisted of Jan Mason, Marie Sheets, Connie Johnson and Margaret Force. The first officers were Olga Wrobel, Rhoda Martyn, Marie Bottoms and Jean Warden.
1975 - Huntington Beach Main Library opened a new library that became the Central Library of the City of Huntington Beach. In that same year FOTL established a Gift Shop in the Central Library. It was staffed with 30 volunteers and has grown to more than 70 volunteers. It is considered to be one of the finest library gift shops in California.
1979 - FOTL helped celebrate the fourth birthday party for the new library with Kelly Lange and Pat Sajack, broadcasting live from the library.
1981 - FOTL and other library support groups held a fundraiser that netted $16,000. From 1981 to 1993 the various fundraising events raised money for the new children's wing. The monies raised went to the purchase of books, computers, library equipment and a Yamaha piano.
1990 - 1991 FOTL hosted a Holiday Gift Boutique Fundraiser to benefit the Children's Wing
1993-94 - The children’s wing was completed. FOTL donated more than $250,000 to this needed addition. A Library Gala Fundraiser was held.
2002 - FOTL donated $100,000 to purchase new books.
2003 - FOTL pledged $120,000 a year for two years to keep two of the branches open that were in danger of being closed because of the city budget cuts. The library system has four branches aside from the Central Library.
2005 - The FOTL began selling donated books online in our Amazon Used Books Store. Currently there are 3,272 books and DVD's listed on Amazon.
2006 - The Used Books Store moves into it's permanent home, the 2,100 square foot space on the main floor of the Central Library where it remains today.
2015 - 40th Anniversary of the Central Library; guest speakers included Ron Hayden, former Library Director Norma Gibbs, former Mayor of Huntington Beach Charlene Bauer, first President of the FOTL and past Presidents.
The early years
The Friends of the Library (FOTL) has been selling books for more than 20 years. In the early years, Director Walter Johnson put a table in the lobby for our Used Books sale. Selling used books started small but quickly grew into two big, annual sales in the 1990s. For one week twice a year, chaos reigned in the buying and selling of books! Volunteers who worked these sales recall that books would be brought up in boxes from the basement to be displayed on long flat tables. The arrival of each new box resulted in a flurry of activity--vendors buying hundreds of titles and regular patrons filling their paper bags with books to read for months
2006 – A Permanent Home
As FOTL grew, the organization progressed to a much more organized way of doing business. The present 2,100 square foot space on the main floor of the Library was turned over to the FOTL to be its Used Books area. This popular space (a 75’x28’area) is the public face of the organization’s large operation which includes a spacious area on the lower level that is used to receive, sort, price and categorize donations. This expansion occurred in the fall of 2006. The current setup with bookshelves and display cases is the result of a lot of work and foresight by one of our board members at that time, Dee San Marchi. She played a leadership role in reorganizing our workspace downstairs.
Behind the Scenes
This “behind-the-scenes” office space is similar to a stock room. It becomes a beehive of activity each weekday as volunteers bring in large bins of donated books that are individually examined. Of the many items donated, several veteran volunteers tell of finding a number of very valuable items in the donation boxes. For example, there was an autographed book that was researched for its value on the Internet. The book was worth $7,500. Proceeds from this and other sales goes into purchasing new books for the Library. Currently, Valerie DeMartino, is the person in charge of the Used Books area. FOTL has had a number of outstanding leaders in charge of the Used Books area including Helen Lotaki, Mary Morgan and Lorraine Barksdale and Marcy Long.