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Council member Jim Reed and his daughter Willa get a sneak preview of the new outdoor patio at the Scotts Valley Library, where phase I of the Friends of the Scotts Valley Library Library Courtyard project is now complete. (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)

SCOTTS VALLEY -- A fundraising campaign is paying dividends to Scotts Valley library patrons, with crews recently laying the groundwork for a patio area that's envisioned to be a community gathering place.

The project's backers hope to have the landscaping, patio furniture, umbrellas and other features in place in time for a spring opening, coinciding with the opening of the city's farmers' market and a library book sale in April.

After 21 years in the pipeline, the $8 million, 13,000-square-foot branch finally became a reality last summer. Supporters spent most of the ensuing months getting the interior in shape and installing various exhibits, including a permanent display of 10 papier mache creations of endangered animal species that went up earlier this year.

The Scotts Valley chapter of the Friends of the Library has since turned its attention to the roughly 3,500 square feet of space behind the library.

Now that the drainage, planks and fence have been taken care of, the group is looking for an additional $10,000 to complete projects related to lighting, irrigation and landscaping materials, according to City Councilman Jim Reed, who also sits on the Santa Cruz Public Library Joint Powers Authority Board. The Friends group also hopes a donor will step forward to pay for a water feature such as a fountain, and artwork, in exchange for naming rights.

Various fundraising events have been held in the past year to raise money for the project, and some supporters have paid $200 to have their names and quotes artfully inscribed in the ipe-wood planks, a campaign that is still ongoing.


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Based on his past fundraising efforts and ability to pull the community together, the Friends group is in good hands under its new president. Scotts Valley resident Derek Timm recently took over the group, and also serves as vice president of the Scotts Valley Education Foundation. Earlier this year, he spearheaded the successful campaign to pass Measure K, a parcel tax measure to benefit local schools.

As the group continues raising funds, he and other Friends members will be looking into what kinds of programs to offer next year.

"We're looking to start programs with both the schools and the community here at the library, and we're going to use some of the resources and connections we made through Save Our Schools Scotts Valley to help do that," Timm said.

Possibilities include tutoring and homework assistance for older children, as well as programs for the younger set and even some designed for senior citizens.

Follow Sentinel reporter Kimberly White on Twitter at Twitter.com/kwhite95066