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Library For London Project

IN THE August 9 ISSUE

FROM THE 2014 Articles,
andCommunity,
andKathy Eide Casas
SECTIONS

by Kathy Eide Casas

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead

There is simply no better way to describe Robert Isquierdo, Jr. and the Ambassadors for the Library for London Project, than as that small group of thoughtful, committed citizens who really are going to change the world. In fact, they’ve already begun! Their first project of change is underway in a big way in the tiny community of London, California.

Robert

Robert Isquierdo, Jr.

In just a few short months, Robert and the London Ambassadors have already made great strides in bringing that change through their gregarious efforts to bring a Library to London!

To teacher and literary activist Robert Isquierdo, Jr., a library is so much more than simply a building with books. The library is a way to positively transform his hometown community of London from negative to positive.reading

The little known community of London is called, ‘home’ by just over 2,100 residents, and sits between Dinuba and Kingsburg. The exits from Highway 99 number exactly one in each direction, and if you miss the exit, you’ve missed London.

There are few basics located in this rural community and even fewer amenities. Over the years, London has endured a negative reputation, unequaled by other communities, yet the Londoners have endured! Isquierdo’s hope is that the positive change this project will bring will be far-reaching enough to turn the community’s reputation around as a whole.

Already, he and the Ambassadors have succeeded in ‘retiring’ the destructive adjectives used to describe their community; and have replaced them with a set of refreshing new London mantras:

London is a thriving community!

London is the site of the Library for London!

“I feel compelled to serve my community. I can do that by bringing a library to London!” Robert Isquierdo, Jr.

Raised in London, Robert’s mom was once named the ‘Mayor’ of London. Growing up, the kids were all sent to other places for school, as they still are now. After school is another matter altogether.There is little to offer the kids when they return to London, following the school day. Robert knows that a library would change that!

After his graduation, Isquierdo left the area and went on to college; earning his teaching credential. He was teaching in Santa Clarita, when the idea for the Library for London began to take shape.

Robert was part of the event team from the Friends of the Santa Clarita Public Library, that brought acclaimed author Gary Soto to town for a free community event. This inspirational event featured discussions about Soto’s career and the themes most prominent in his books, which proved to be a captivating experience for children and adults alike. While there, Robert took his three children, ages 2, 5 and 6, to visit the library. The excitement and awe that shone on their faces was heartwarming and inspirational. To see the library not only through his own eyes, but through the eyes of his children, opened a page in Robert’s heart. There were books and computers, books and comfy chairs, books and desks, audio books, electronic books, story time books and literacy galore. Truly something for everyone.

The wheels began to turn…and the Library for London vision was born!

After seeing that magic unfold, Robert began to believe he could bring that same sensational opportunity to a community where little was offered for the kids, the teens or the adults. That community was right in his own backyard, his own hometown. He began asking himself, ‘What if there was a library in London, easily accessible for the folks in their own community?’ His second question was: ‘Why hadn’t he thought of this before?’ road sign

And so began the Library for London Project!

Through Robert’s tenacity and the generosity and can-do spirit of so many who are catching Robert’s enthusiasm, the following goals have already been accomplished:

Collecting the maximum number of 15,000 books

Finding a place, or places, to store those 15,000 books!
(Robert found three places, including his Mom’s storage shed)

Robert and his family made the move from Santa Clarita back to the Tulare county area, so that he could devote more time and energy to the Library for London Project. Robert and his family are settled in Stratford and he has a teaching job in Hanford. Personal goal reached!

A portable classroom was donated to house the actual library

dog

Portable classroom-Library for London site

Robert hit the ‘media circuit’, enticing those far and wide to join the efforts for the Library for London in any way they can

Community groups far and wide have embraced the Library for London goal

$25,000 has been raised but an additional $75,000 for a first year total of $100,000 to cover start up costs, is still needed.

Much has been done but there’s still much more to do!

The Library for London still needs resources for the following:

Demolishing the existing foundation

Pouring the cement foundation

Setting the classroom

Finishing the infrastructure

A daunting list for some, but not for Robert and the Ambassadors for London!

How you can help:

Get involved! There are so many ways to help bring the Library to London!

Be an Ambassador for London

Make a donation

Are you a member of a service club, a community organization, a walking group, a running group, a parents club, etc. If so, spread the word and ask for their help!

Schedule a fundraiser…three fundraisers have already been held. The most recent was a history making 5k run…with 220 runners and 100 spectators for a total turnout of 320 people in London for a common goal…and they raised money to boot! Everything from bake sales to planned events, will help!

library

Library for London Run Walk

Coming up next: Tuesday December 16 at 4 p.m.: The annual London Christmas parade. Their goal is to bring in huge crowds to experience a positive event in London like the 5K by inviting marching bands to join in for the first time in the history of this parade. So far they have Dinuba High committed to coming which is already a historic feat! Hopefully more bands will join in.

Late January: Library Grand opening!!!

There are plenty of easy ways to become involved or to make a donation. You can contact Rob Isquierdo, Jr. at (818) 482-8140 or by email at libraryforlondon@yahoo[dot]com

Or simply go to:

Libraryforlondon.com or The Library for London Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Library4London

Library for London Mission Statement

Our mission is to create a fully functional library for the community of London that will be located within the community limits and accessible to all citizens of London. We want this library to be comparable to what might be found in neighboring cities like Dinuba, Kingsburg, and Reedley. We believe that as a matter of dignity our citizens should have access to the same local educational resources offered in surrounding communities.

Kathy Eide Casas Kathy Eide Casas is a valley native and has been involved in politics, public policy and public relations her entire career. From the U. S. and state capitols to local projects, she has been a guiding force. Most recently, Eide-Casas completed the writing for two U Turns Allowed magazines, benefiting Focus Forward. Additionally, her work has run in several other local publications, including Valley Health Magazine.

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