After over 20 years in the making, the library has opened on Main Street

TEMPLETON — After more than two decades of fundraising and planning, the Templeton Community Library opened its doors on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022. 

“It is so rewarding … everybody says it’s better than expected,” says Templeton Community Library Association (TCLA) Board of Directors President Melinda Reed about their opening.

The TCLA was formed in 2000 after Boy Scout Josh Gibson had the idea to build a library in Templeton for his Eagle Scout project. In 2001, TCLA signed a lease with the Templeton Unified School District (TUSD) for a portion of the parking lot across from the high school. Then, while funds were raised and obstacles were hurdled, a thermometer sat on the library’s future site at the corner of Main Street and Templeton Road, marking the number of funds raised for the project.


Reed told Paso Robles Press about the organization’s original intention to work with San Luis Obispo County in operating the library. However, in March 2020, the county redirected its funds for library facilities, and TCLA had to move forward without any county funding.

With smaller building plans to accommodate their now-reduced budget, the library finally broke ground in November 2021. And now, a year later, volunteers and patrons of the library can rejoice and celebrate their new library.

Reed said that 70 percent of the building is made from recycled materials and is completely recyclable itself. Along with being earthquake-safe, the building is open and inviting, and full of potential. TCLA has plans to expand with an area for community gatherings and a memorial garden.

The library is 100 percent volunteer-run, with some dedicating their time as storytellers for local students visiting the library. The book selection is already a wide range for adults and children, with new and gently used books donated to them by the community and includes best sellers of all genres.

Reed explains their plans to continue growing their selection of books, “If we don’t have their book, there’s a possibility that we will purchase it.”

There are currently 40 volunteers with the library, and Reed says that now they are open, more people are finding them and signing up. But volunteers are always welcome as they hope to extend their operating hours.

In typical Templeton fashion, the library has been a community effort, with everything inside, from art to furniture, being donated. Of course, the library wouldn’t have been possible without some generous donors.

Margaret Anderson Radunich was an early loyal supporter of the TCLA fund. She passed away in 2018 and left a large gift to TCLA to help build the library.

Templeton resident George R. Hearst Jr. supported TCLA’s goal to build a town library with his early donation of $100,000. To honor Hearst’s memory, a leather chair and cowhide rug is set up in the library alongside his boardroom desk chair he used in his New York City headquarters. The chair was donated to the library by Hearst’s son. 

And in 2022, Reed secured over $65,500 for TCLA after winning the 2022 Dancing with our Stars competition in Atascadero.

“It’s hard to forecast what it’s going to actually feel like when you are actually in the space,” says Reed of their opening. “The people here and the volunteers, it’s like an extended family. When you are here, time goes by so quickly and you are just so happy.”

Reed adds that now the library is open, they can focus on curating programs and activities to be offered at the library. Already there are two book signings in the works. The first will be reading and signing by Jodie Antypas with her book “Just like an Astronaut” on Jan. 27 at 4 p.m.

The community can also look forward to a new curation of Spanish-language books, landscaping, and book sales throughout the year. TCLA still continues to work towards one day becoming a county library.

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