Local News

Library Guild celebrates new name, leadership at annual meeting

The Library Guild of Rancho Santa Fe board.
Karen Billing

New logo, new leadership, new name: The newly christened Library Guild of Rancho Santa Fe celebrated another successful chapter in its 55-year history at its annual meeting on May 24.

The meeting marked the last for outgoing president Art Yayanos, who has led the Guild for the last five years.

“You’ve been a very strong advocate for progress at this branch. You have made my job so much easier,” Executive Director Susan Appleby told Yayanos. “Your quiet strength is such strong leadership. You have really tee’d us up for the next 50 years.”

The new logo for the Library Guild of Rancho Santa Fe. Courtesy

Mary Siegrist was elected the Guild’s new president— she is a volunteer and private investor with 30 years of leadership experience in the information services industry. In addition to being an enthusiastic Book Cellar volunteer and lifelong reader, she also volunteers on the board of trustees for Casa Cornelia Law Center.

“It’s really my honor to be your president for the next three years,” Siegrist said. “I want to continue down our path of progress. We have a wonderful 50-year history…all of us are very committed to serving our community of readers and patrons and our very, very generous Guild members and benefactors.”

In her remarks, Siegrist said that both the she and the library are indebted to Yayanos’ years of leadership and kindness. She complimented Yayanos for having the foresight to create the executive director model that has made a huge difference at the library, for building a great board of directors and overseeing improvements in ADA compliance at the library site and the development of the new branding and logo.

A humble Yayanos said the credit for the rebranding effort also goes to the entire Guild and particularly Siegrist’s involvement.

“It’s really nice to be stepping down as a president of an organization and know that someone who’s coming behind you is going to be fantastic,” Yayanos said.

This year Yayanos spearheaded the effort to amend the articles of incorporation with help from board member-at-large Carl Larson. They were able to streamline the group’s bylaws and officially change the organization’s name to the Library Guild of Rancho Santa Fe.

The old name, Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild, had inadvertently cost the Guild a lot of money as when people wrote checks, the name was often shortened to the Rancho Santa Fe Library and those funds went to the county library system rather than to the Guild as the donor had intended. The new name should hopefully make things easier, Yayanos said.

At the annual meeting, the Guild board shared the year’s successes which included providing for 415 programs, including children’s activities, author talks and other special events. The Rancho Santa Fe Book Cellar brought in over $39,536 in used-book sales—the half-price book sale alone, in which books sold for $1, generated $3,869.

The Guild also received several significant gifts and grants this year including $100,000 estate gift from William McConnor and $103,000 from the family of Dottie McCrink. One library patron gave a $10,000 gift simply to acknowledge the staff’s assistance in helping her find books about dogs.

Appleby shared that 40,689 visitors entered the library doors and they added 287 new library cards affiliated with the branch. There were 95,647 items checked out from the library, which is about 7,900 items a month.

“That number surprised even me,” Appleby said, noting that additionally 10,240 e-books were downloaded by RSF patrons.

Appleby said that Helen Weddell, the Guild’s first president back in 1963, would be thrilled by the activity as well as all the library’s technological innovations which include wi-fi and computer services, a 3D printer and a digital monitor display.

“Mrs. Weddell and the founders would be very proud of the way we’ve grown and cared for and sustained this branch,” said Appleby, tearing up. “It’s very personal to me. I love spending time here and I think many of you here do as well. We hope to continue serving this community for the next 50 years as well and better as we have these past 50 years.”