The Cambrian

$150K donation gets Cambria Library fund halfway home

The Hind Foundation cavalry is riding into Cambria at the 11th hour again, investing grant funds to make sure a nonprofit group gets money it needs for a project — in this case, a $140,000 challenge grant toward the building of a new library facility.

The San Luis Obispo foundation is imposing no deadline on the challenge grant, other than the Dec. 31 time limit set by the county for the Friends of the Cambria Lilbrary group to complete its fundraising of $1.4 million toward the $4 million project.

A challenge grant is money given with the stipulation that other community members match it. Two other challenge grants for the library cause have been met, according to chief fundraiser Greg Fitzgerald.

Once the community — including individuals, other nonprofit organizations, service groups, foundations, corporations and other donors —matches Hind’s $140,000, Friends will have met its goal and “be ready to put shovels into the ground,” according to group President Jeri Farrell.

The Friends just met its 80 percent funding requirement to begin construction design, she said, another important milestone.

The Cambria branch is one of the county’s most heavily used libraries per capita. It has survived for about three decades in increasingly cramped quarters with difficult parking accommodations.

The new site allows more than double the space of the existing library, and is to provide more parking, a technology center and enlarged multifunctional areas for children, teens and adults.

Farrell was ebullient after Supervisor Bruce Gibson, a passionate proponent of the project, told her about the Hind grant Tuesday, June 19.

Later that morning, foundation founder Greg Hind said with a pleased chuckle that “one of our rewards is reactions like that.”

The foundation, founded in 2006, has provided grants before on the North Coast, toward an access road to Harmony Headlands State Park, to restore the Fog Signal Building at Piedras Blancas Light Station and toward restoring the Greenspace Chinese Temple and the Guthrie-Bianchini House (now called the Cambria Historical Museum).

Hind said the library project is a bit beyond the foundation’s usual focus of conservation, not construction. According to,the foundation’s purpose is “to fund community- based projects and programs that encourage people to work together to build an enduring legacy for future generations.”

“We do a lot of conservation and preservation,” Hind explained. “Libraries are being pushed aside a bit by to-day’s technology” and various mediums that make information instantly accessible.

“We want to make sure the library is preservedas the community’s central point and focus that brings people together and provides a place for a lot of programs and meetings” and (of course) the books themselves. You can get most everything electronically, he said, but libraries “as an important repository for books should remain.”

Hind said the foundation “tries to recognize the efforts that create a project and get things going. We come in and provide assistance, acknowledging all the dedication and passion everybody has for this project.”

He added, “We want to see this thing done.”