Two Villages, One New Library

Two Villages, One New Library
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Preparations for the Ground Breaking ceremony for the new library.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it’s likely going to take two villages, Capitola and Soquel, to raise a new library building on the corner of Clares and Wharf Roads in Capitola.

In 2016, 70% of county voters approved Measure S, a ‘bricks and mortar’ bond measure, to provide funds to construct new and remodel existing buildings in the Santa Cruz Public Library system. The Capitola branch, a set of six mobile units installed as a ‘temporary’ structure about 18 years ago was slated for a new building.

Unfortunately, the share of Measure S funds ($8M) for this branch was insufficient to cover the estimated construction costs of about $13M. There was a need to raise additional funds from the two villages. Over the last 18 months and continuing throughout the construction phase of the building, a capital campaign committee headed by Gayle Ortiz has been soliciting donations to help with the costs of constructing and furnishing this new branch library.

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Early design for new library exterior.

In addition to many generous individual donors, it’s no surprise that several business owners have already made major contributions to the capital campaign.  For Mike Termini of Triad Electric the decision was simple. It’s about the community needing a vibrant library. Mike understands the value of a new 21st century facility. He said, “As a local business owner I have always felt the overall health of the community goes far beyond commerce. It includes education, recreation and intellectual curiosity. Anyone who thinks libraries are obsolete has obviously not visited one in many years.”

The importance of community and of giving back was underscored by Gayle Ortiz of Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria who explained why she and her husband Joe are such ardent supporters of the new library in Capitola. “One of the reasons I love having a business in Capitola is the support we receive from our community. It’s important to me to share my business success with our community and there’s no better way than showing Capitolans we at Gayle’s support our library.”

For Ben Ow the decision to contribute to the new building was about community and also about the Ow Family’s deep roots in Capitola. Ben said, “My family and I are proud to be Capitola community members for more than 50 years and we are honored to be sponsors of the new Capitola library.

As co-founders of the former Capitola Book Cafe, we are passionate about reading and books and we believe the new Capitola library will be a landmark community gathering place that facilitates learning, education, and the arts for generations to come.”

Another significant donor to the capital campaign, Marc Monte, felt as strongly about the importance of the new library as did the other major donors. Monte, a life-long reader, also touched on community values and family ties as the motivation for his generosity.

“As a local business person, I understand the importance of libraries to help build a stronger community, expand our cultural capacity, and ultimately spark our next generation of leaders,” Monte said. “With my family’s long history of supporting our area’s youth, I am honored at the opportunity to sponsor the Children’s Wing of the new Capitola Library, a perfect way to support the development of a love of reading.”

People care about good libraries. If that were not true, Measure S and the library tax measures before S would not have received the high levels of voter support that we have come to expect in Santa Cruz County. The new Capitola Library has benefited from voter support and also from gifts offered by the people of the two villages. The goal now is to be sure that something very special is built on the site where six mobile units served as the Capitola library for 18 years.

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For the full list of donors to date, go to https://capitolalibraryfriends.org/donate

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