In 1983 Tomales Bay Library Association was organized from an unofficial group that had been formed in 1978 to support the West Marin Public libraries threatened with closure because of severe budget cuts due to Prop. 13. By 1984 it had been incorporated, declared a 501(c)3 organization by the IRS and had nearly 300 members. From the start TBLA supported not only the public libraries but libraries at the local schools. We have provided money to purchase books and other library materials in both English and Spanish, library equipment, and to fund events that encouraged reading and library use. We also worked with Friends of the Marin County Free Library to fund the first Spanish language version of the online catalog.
During most of the years the group has used membership dues to support the Inverness and Point Reyes Public Libraries and the library at West Marin School. Sometimes there were special projects that involved special fund-raising. In 1986 TBLA was involved to some extent in the Gables Project to convert Jack Mason’s home into a library and museum space. In early 1993 the County Library system was proposing severe cuts to the hours at all the West Marin Libraries. Tomales Bay Library Association and the Stinson Beach-Bolinas Library Improvement Society raised $25,000 to keep the libraries open. Our share of this was $15,000 since we covered San Geronimo Library as well.
The most important project was the new Point Reyes Station Library. TBLA investigated several sites and drew up plans and cost estimates and kept lobbying the County to expand the library. When the current space was offered to the County TBLA was involved in the planning and design of the library. TBLA undertook to raise $27,000 for new books and other materials to fill the additional space. We had some surplus set aside toward this already and wrote ONE appeal letter. When the $27,000 was in hand we published a letter in the Point Reyes Light thanking everybody but the tap was wide open. We ended up with closer to $39,000. TBLA planned the ceremonial opening of the library in January 1998.
From time to time other projects were undertaken such as weeding and restocking the Tomales High School Library, renewal of the West Marin School Library, and literacy work. TBLA helped to get the West Marin Review started with some subsidies and served as fiscal agent for the publication through 2013.
The current emphasis is back on providing money to help the Point Reyes and Inverness Libraries and the West Marin School library provide even better services to the people of West Marin.