About Us


Our mission:  To preserve and enhance the library’s place as a source of information by enriching its resources and making its services better known to the community.

FOTAGL is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization registered with the California Secretary of State. To see our By-laws, click here.

Our Tax ID is 77-0324053.  

We are an all-volunteer organization and always have volunteer opportunities for community members like you to lend a hand.

The Friends of the Arroyo Grande Library support the policies of the American Library Association especially those dealing with Banned & Challenged Books, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Intellectual Freedom. We also support their Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read statements. This information can be found on the ALA.org website mostly under the Advocacy, Legislation, and Issues heading. We believe that our Library Patrons have the intelligence to decide for themselves and their family what they want to read.

What do the Friends of the Library Do?

  1. We raise money to help our library
  2. We shelve books
  3. We purchase books, DVD’s and supplies
  4. We provide computers and printers for public use
  5. We fund adult and children’s programs
  6. We purchase furniture and fixtures
  7. We process donated materials for sale and use the proceeds for the library
  8. We sell appropriate books on the internet and use proceeds for the library

Notable contributions:

  • Adult lounge furniture
  • Patron computers
  • Kids computers
  • Leather furniture in lounge
  • Outdoor tables and chairs
  • Teen Lounge
  • Art Cart in the Childrens’ area


We are thrilled that so many of you in the community show your support of the Library by becoming members of the Friends.  We currently have over 300 members including adults, teens, and life members. 

If you wish to join, or if your membership has lapsed, you may print and fill out the Membership Application found here membership.   Include a check made out to Friends of the Arroyo Grande Library and:

  • Bring in to the Arroyo Grande library help desk
  • Mail your application and check together to:

Friends of the Arroyo Grande Library
800 West Branch Street
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

You can also cut the membership form out of the bi-monthly newsletter or pick up a membership form the next time you visit the Library.  Leave the completed form and your payment with staff at the HELP desk.  We would love to have you as a member!

Our History

In September 1992, Deborah Schlanser, who was the Library Branch Manager at the time, organized the Friends of the South County Library. There were about 15 original members (compared with over 300 current members). Prior to the Friends group being formed the Women’s Club of Arroyo Grande provided support and volunteers to the library.

Dave Wilcox was elected the first President and Debbie Saurbrier, Vice President.  Other important members included Ian Pilling who took on the job of Newsletter editor and Happy and Leighton Pratt who accepted the positions of Book Sales chairpersons.  The Pratts resigned in 1995 after garnering $7500 during 14 book sales.  Significant contributions were also made by Pat Conover who became the first magazine/book chairperson and Anne Pilling one of the original founders and volunteers.

Initial fundraisers for the Friends included book sales and T-shirt sales.  The very first book sale, held in November 1992, raised a princely sum of $444.16.  In 2016, in conjunction with the Historical Society, the Friends produced and sold an historic calendar as their annual fundraiser.  Several decades later, the Friends still rely on book/magazine sales and special fundraisers as the primary sources of income.  With increased sales volumes, and the addition of internet sales, we are now able to donate much more money to the library.  These funds have enabled Friends to purchase books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, computers, furniture and supplies for the library, as well as provide funds to support both adult and children’s programming.

In February, 2007 the Friends sponsored their first website and soon after began their first involvement with Better World Books.  On July 10, 2008, the organization was renamed the Friends of the Arroyo Grande Library (FOTAGL). There have been other changes in the library and organization over the past 25 years, but the goal of Friends is still to provide monetary and volunteer support to our wonderful library.  All the volunteers, then and now, are dedicated to making our library a place the public can come to gain knowledge, be entertained and enjoy the joy of books and now electronic information.

There are several current members that have personally experienced the “history” of the organization.  They include:  Kim Elston (former President and Secretary), Donna Kimber (current Asst. Treasurer and former Treasurer and Membership Chair), Kersti Lasiewski (current President), Kent Unsworth (former long-time Book Sale Chair), and Sandra Mason (current 1st Vice President and former Volunteer Coordinator).

We always have volunteer opportunities so please think about giving your time and support to our group.  If you’re like us, you’ll find it meaningful and satisfying.

We are celebrating our 31st year of support for the AG Library! 

Our Board Officers

The 2023 Board members are:

Kersti, Sandy and Grace

Kersti Lasiewski, President:

I became active in the Friends of the Library soon after retirement, primarily sorting books and working at the book sales.  Eventually I became an officer and served as vice-president, and secretary. I have been president since 2016 and have been proud of the contributions that our organization has made to support our library. I believe that the library is a very important hub in our community and want everybody to enjoy it as much as I have.

Grace Merritt, Secretary: Joining FOTAGL was a great way for me to become involved within the community when I moved to the area in 2021. Our library is such a valuable asset to Arroyo Grande and I enjoy contributing to the richness of what it provides.

Sandy Stellway, Treasurer: Starting as Assistant Treasurer, I have big shoes to fill from our former Treasurer, Donna Kimber.  Fortunately, she is serving as my Assistant Treasurer, so her guiding hand is here to help.  My background as a financial analyst and stockbroker helped prepare me for serving as FOTAGL’s Treasurer.  I serve the Friends gladly with gratitude to support our wonderful library.

Sandra and Louise

Sandra Mason, 1st Vice President

I have many years experience in Libraries. While in London I worked for a local library before leaving to join the National Book League to do book research.   After moving to Arroyo Grande, I worked at both Cuesta College Library and the old Arroyo Grande Library on Bridge Street before going to the County Clerk’s Office.  With my love of books, upon retirement I joined the Friends of the Library and have been on the Board ever since.

Louise Clark, 2nd Vice President

I have been with Friends about 2 years now and enjoy my work with the library. It has been a good place to make friends and help the library. I have lived on the Central Coast since 2012. Before retiring, I did medical billing

2022 Friends of the Arroyo Grande Library Slate of Officers is listed below.  

President     Kersti Lasiewski

1st VP         Sandra Mason

2nd VP        Louise Clark

Secretary     Grace Merritt

Treasurer    Sandy Stellway