The Barbara Baltimore Fund was created in 2011 with a bequest of $195,000 to the Foundation from longtime San Luis Obispo Library volunteer Barbara Baltimore. Her mission was to create a program of grants for projects that will be of lasting value to county libraries. The Foundation established a grant program and application procedure to disburse the funds, which opens on July 1 of each year and closes on September 30. Grants are awarded for programs and projects which promise to enhance library resources for years to come and provide the greatest possible benefit to San Luis Obispo County Libraries for the longest period.
Grants awarded to date:
2012-2013 Fiscal Year
Arroyo Grande Library: provided funds, matched by the Friends of the Arroyo Grande Library, for two AWE Early Literacy Stations for the Children’s Department. Early Literacy Stations provide top-rated educational software programs for children in English, Spanish and French, and allow youngsters to develop keyboard, mouse and touch screen skills while developing eye-hand coordination.
Atascadero Library: provided funds to decorate and equip the Captain’s Family Corner in the new Atascadero Children’s Library. This informal, flexibly-furnished space provides a casual spot for reading and exploration when it is not being used to support enrichment programs.
System-wide: The ballooning use of eBooks in all libraries inspired a grant request to purchase eight Apple iPads and staff training so that patrons can be taught how to download eBooks to their mobile devices. “As the library’s online presence grows,” said former Los Osos Library Branch Manager Joseph Laurenzi, “the iPad will continue to be a valuable tool in training and exposing patrons to all digital possibilities such as mobile apps and online catalogs.”
Special project: a publication by Joe Carotenuti, a Library Administration Volunteer, entitled A Brief History of the San Luis Obispo County Library. The booklet, illustrated with historical photos, provides well-researched information for the first time about our library system and the visionaries who made it a reality. The booklet can be purchased at any library branch and proceeds will go to benefit the Children’s Summer Reading Programs offered throughout the San Luis Obispo County Library System.
2013-2014 Fiscal Year
Morro Bay Library: provided funds to purchase an Early Literacy Station. “Once children spend time at the Station, they tend to feel comfortable with the library setting,” observes Morro Bay librarian Jackie Kinsey. “It will allow them to form lifelong learning skills through the use of attractive, up-to-date technology.”
San Miguel Library: provided funds to purchase an AWE Early Literacy Station. According to former North County Regional Librarian Kay Rader, San Miguel’s station serves as an anchor for the library’s new project called The Kid’s Club – a club that will foster early literacy learning and afterschool programs for the North County.
Shell Beach Library: provided funds, matched by the Friends of the Shell Beach Library, to purchase a Self-Check Station. Giving patrons the ability to check out their own books will free up the sole librarian at the small branch to help other patrons with computer searches, or to locate materials.
2014-2015 Fiscal Year
Santa Margarita Library: provided funds, matched by Friends of the Santa Margarita Library, to purchase a Self-Check Station.
Nipomo Library: provided funds for the purchase of two Chromebook laptop computers and an AWE After School Edge computer.
2015-2016 Fiscal Year
System-wide: Provided funds to purchase a series of interactive educational toys called Brain Play. Parents, caregivers, teachers and children around the county are enjoying interacting with the toys, which are designed to teach math, science, reading and typing skills. Librarians in all the branches are noting the positive response to the toys and report that the play items stimulate thinking, reasoning and creativity skills for the children.
2016-2017 Fiscal Year
System-wide: Provided funds to purchase Spanish-language materials as follows:
$7,000 for children’s books, books on CD and music;
$2,500 for adult books, books on CD and music; and
$500 for signage and labels.