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Dana Point Library Friends Tell Store Board to Check Out

May 30, 2003|Stanley Allison | Times Staff Writer

Volunteers at the Dana Point Library Bookstore who had resigned in protest over how proceeds from the book sales were spent, have ousted the store's board of directors and installed new officers.

At a special election at the library Wednesday, 97 members voted for the new slate; nine voted for the incumbents.

County Librarian John Adams, who observed the counting of the ballots, said Thursday that his "conclusion is that the Friends membership has changed their elected leadership, so we are now working with the new board to operate the bookstore."

The recall is the latest chapter in a dispute between volunteers and the former board.

The dispute erupted in April when the volunteer in charge of the small bookstore -- known for "buck-a-bag" sales and paperbacks for a quarter -- resigned and closed the shop in protest over how some of the $54,000 raised annually for the library was being spent.

Volunteers accused the Friends board of spending money on fancy newsletters, other community organizations and a party to welcome Dana Point's new city manager.

"The allegations that the Friends paid for a party is absolutely false and they keep saying it over and over," said Mary Williams, who was brought in to run the bookstore when June Bauer, a vice president and volunteer, resigned. With the election, Williams is no longer in charge of the bookstore.

"I'm disgusted, and as far as being a Friend of the Library, they can take my name off the list," she said.

Another chapter was added to the conflict when the board arranged for a trash receptacle to cart away thousands of books that had been piling up for weeks while the bookstore was closed. The books had been donated to the bookstore but never made it to the shelves.

The bookstore was by then in the hands of the same board that the volunteers had accused of misusing the funds.

Volunteers who had resigned -- and then were fired by the board -- descended on the library May 15, the day the dumping was scheduled, and arranged for many of the books to be carted away to Friends of the Library stores in Mission Viejo, San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente.

Other book lovers climbed into the dumpster and helped themselves.

The volunteers then called for a special election to regain control of the bookstore. Wednesday's vote put them in charge -- unless the old board fights back, said Victoria Tongish, a volunteer elected to the new board.

"We've won one battle and opened up ourselves for another one," Tongish said

Bill Shepherd, president of the recalled board, was unavailable for comment.

The new board president is Ingrid McGuire.

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