Friends of Del Mar Library seeks new board members

When the Del Mar Library celebrated its centennial along with the 100-year anniversary of its building in November, the Friends of the Del Mar Library were there to mark the occasion.

After all, if it weren’t for the Friends, the local branch might not be housed in the historical building where it is today.

“Having this unique, historical building as the library is our biggest accomplishment,” said Board President Pat Freeman.

The Del Mar Library was established in 1914. That same year, just a few blocks away, St. James Catholic Church opened its doors.

After the library had been headquartered in several spots, from storefronts to the trailer behind City Hall, and the church had long relocated to Solana Beach, the city bought the building for $1.2 million in February 1994 — with support from the community and the Friends of the Del Mar Library.

The library officially opened its new doors in October 1996.

“It is very, very unique,” Freeman said. “It’s not like any other library. It just fits this community.”

From helping the library find a permanent home, to raising funds for the branch, the Friends have supported the library since their founding in 1982.

Local resident Catherine Stoll launched the Friends of the Del Mar Library, becoming the first board president, establishing its nonprofit status, and organizing the group’s annual book sale, which was initially held on the patio in front of City Hall. The book sale would raise $2,000 to $2,500 each year, recalled Freeman, a founding board member.

Today, the Friends of the Del Mar Library continue to support the library by selling books. Instead of an annual organized book sale, however, the organization holds an ongoing sale at the branch, bringing in $200 to $300 each month, Freeman said.

In addition to book sales, the Friends hold an annual membership drive, with new and renewing members donating $35 to $1,000 in support of the Friends and the library.

Over the years, the Friends have helped fund the library’s various transformations.

There used to be an open patio on the south side of the building. When the building’s roof needed to be replaced, library officials decided to also enclose the patio.

Since the project was completed in 2009, the Community Room has been used for a variety of activities, from baby yoga and Zumba classes, to bridge and Friends of the Del Mar Library meetings.

The library was also refurbished in the past two years. The library installed a new service desk, a laptop bar, mobile shelving units and new carpet. It also purchased new chairs and tables for the roughly 5,000-square-foot branch.

The renovation project was a joint effort among the county, city and the Friends of the Del Mar Library.

Besides helping fund projects, money goes toward maintaining the library, including its newspaper and magazine subscriptions, as well as some book purchases.

But more than just fundraising, the Friends are there to represent community, encouraging the city and the county to support the branch.

“We encourage the county and the city to spend tax money on our library,” Freeman said.

“We wouldn’t have this building if we didn’t lobby the city to buy it. You have to let them know, ‘This is very important to me.’ That’s how things get done in Del Mar,” she added, pointing to how the community backs projects it supports, such as Del Mar Shores Park and the Powerhouse Community Center.

With major projects complete, Freeman said new board members are needed to bring new ideas to the table.

The board has seven members, but it’s had as many as 10 in the past. The board will be down to six when its secretary moves in the spring. The average age is 65, so Freeman is also hoping to recruit younger volunteers.

“You need people skills and you need to listen to all kinds of ideas,” Freeman said. “Of course, you need to love libraries.”

Prospective board members are encouraged to contact Freeman at They may also leave their contact information with Branch Manager Polly Cipparrone or other staff at the library.

Those interested in applying may also attend the board’s next meeting at 5 p.m. Feb. 4 in the Community Room at the Del Mar Library. Board meetings take place at 5 p.m. on the first Wednesday of even months and are public.

“It’s all about giving back to your community,” Freeman said. “It’s amazing how much satisfaction you get being able to do that.”

For information about the Friends of the Del Mar Library, call 858-755-1666 or visit