Friends of the Altadena Library


About the Friends of the Altadena Library


Established in 1959, the Friends of the Altadena Library is an organization committed to the support of the Altadena Library District and its programs and services. The purpose of the Friends is to stimulate public interest in the library, assist with funding to purchase library materials, and to support cultural and educational programs at the Altadena Library.

As a Friend, your support will help to raise funds for books and materials, support Children's and Young Adult programs, and offer educational and informative programs, including the Annual Poetry & Cookies program, annual musical programs like the Second Saturday concert series, noted author lectures and book signings, and young adults and children's Summer Reading. The Friends raises money to support the Library District through sales at its Bookstore in the Main Library, donations, membership dues, and proceeds of the Annual Friends book sales and pop-up sales throughout the year. Recent contributions from the Friends to the Library include new furniture, computer equipment, and books for both the Main and Branch Libraries. 


FOAL Board Meetings: The Friends of the Library meet on the first Monday of each month at 7:30 pm in the Barbara J. Pearson Community Room at the Main Library. You do not have to be a member to attend and we welcome anyone who has an interest in what the Friends do and/or who would like to become more involved! Please note: FOAL Board Meetings are on the second Monday if the library is closed on the first Monday of the month.

Donated Book Sorting: Members of the Friends meet at the Main Library every Monday between 7 and 9pm to sort and box donated books, in preparation for selling them in the bookstore or at the annual book sale. If you love books - and fun conversation while you work - please come along! No need to stay the full two hours, just come for as long as you can. YOU CAN FIND US by asking one of the librarians to direct you to the Friends book sorters in the book sorting room downstairs. Please note: If there is a FOAL Board Meeting that Monday, Book Sorting moves to *Tuesday* from 7-9pm; if the library is closed on the Monday, the FOAL Board Meeting takes place on the Tuesday, and the Book Sorting is canceled for that week. 



Our Journey - A Brief History of the Friends

The word “Friend” immediately brings to mind the people who help celebrate all the goodness in life and stand steadfast when times are troubled, who offer support when it’s needed and offer counsel to help us see the straight path. We count on our friends and they count on us. 

The Altadena Library has friends – Friends of the Library! In 1959, a couple hundred civic-minded residents joined together to form the Friends of the Altadena Library. After a couple of years of highly successful book sales, the Friends paid for the professional survey that ultimately led the district from a small building on Lake Avenue to the mid-century modern library of today on Mariposa Street. But they didn’t stop there. The Friends organized support for the bond campaign that paid for more than half of the library’s construction, and with continued revenue from their annual sales, the Friends paid for all the furnishings in the new library’s community room. 

Paging through the library’s collection of scrapbooks filled with old photos and faded news clippings, it’s easy to see that the Friends have been good and constant friends over the years. Trying to tabulate all their support produces an incredibly long and varied list of programs and materials. Large-print books. Sound-films (a long ago precursor to DVDs). Summer reading prizes. In 1976, the Friends commissioned and completed a quilt featuring Altadena symbols to commemorate the American Bicentennial. (Once hanging in the library, it’s now preserved and on display at the Altadena Historical Society if you’d care to see it.) The Friends paid for repairs to the library’s roof and lighting and circulation desk enhancements. They purchased a copier and paid for the library’s Christmas tree every December. For fans of verse, Poetry and Cookies, the library’s annual poetry review, is brought to you courtesy of the Friends. In 2006, they refurnished the children’s library with new carpet, child-sized tables and the distinctive owl-emblazoned chairs. And a few years back, they presented the world premiere staged reading of the Zane Grey Playwriting Contest winner, “Surprise Valley” by Mary Casey, in an event held at the Zane Grey Estate with speakers and guests including Ray Bradbury, Jervey Tervalon, local authors Naomi Hirahara and Lian Dolan, John Dean, historian Dr. Kevin Starr, and JPL planetary scientist Dr. Rosaly Lopes. Proceeds from this event helped get the Altadena Library Foundation started. 

On a trip to the library, it may be easy to walk right by their bookstore, but who among us hasn’t donated a few no-longer-beloved books to their annual May sale, replenished children’s bookshelves with lovingly used picture books or chapter stories from their collection, given up those murder mysteries that just don’t keep our interest the second time around to follow the fortunes of a different detective or turned in a cookbook that no longer appeals in favor of another with promises of fresh new tastes—all at prices far below what we would pay at a book store. 

The Friends' mission at their founding was:

“…to inform the public of the resource needs of the library, foster the development of cultural programs for the community centered in the library, and to encourage gifts of desirable collections for public use and enjoyment.” –History of the Altadena Library, 1908-1967

Their mission, in more current language, remains the same today. The organization is run entirely by volunteers, people who are devoted to the library. And the Altadena Library District is much richer for having such good friends, these dedicated individuals who embody the philosophy of the French poet and priest Joseph Roux:

“Have friends, not for the sake of receiving, but of giving.”

...Though they gladly receive our donated books! We celebrate our Friends through the month of October. If you love our library like they do, consider becoming a Friend, too.

How to Support the Friends

Your support is so appreciated and every little bit helps us support the Altadena Library District. Whether financial or in-kind, donations of money or books all help us in our efforts to enrich the services and materials offered by the Altadena Library District. Donations of books, movies, and music are always accepted at the Main Library, and financial donations can be made online (click the link above) or in person at the Main Library with a check or cash. 

2) Become A Member

As a Friend of the Altadena Library, you will receive

  • Special invitation to the Friends "Pre-sale" Used Book Sale
  • Free events and programs
  • The satisfaction of helping to support our local libraries

 Annual Membership Dues:

  • Individual: $10
  • Family: $25
  • Sustaining: $50
  • Patron: $75
  • Benefactor: $100+
  • Friend For Life: $500

Click here to Pay your dues online.


Make checks payable to: Friends of the Altadena Library

Checks can be mailed to:
Friends of the Altadena Library
600 E. Mariposa Street
Altadena, CA 91001

OR Pay at the Information desk at the Main Library!


3) Make a Purchase at the Friends of the Library Book Store

The Friends' Bookstore is situated just inside the entrance across from the Checkout desk. The shelves are filled with a collection of donated children's and adult books, DVDs, CDs, and magazines, all very reasonably priced. All proceeds go toward the purchase of library materials.

Thank you for your generous support in helping us make a difference in our community.


Board of the Friends


President - Mark Mariscal

Vice-President - Joy Strayer

Treasurer - Jannette Allen

Recording Secretary - Marne Brown



Marilyn Commodore

Barbara Freberg
Edna Johnson

Dianne Moore

Art Ronnie

Hafsah Abdus-Shakur



Membership Drive

The Friends of the Altadena Library has launched a membership drive and the Membership Committee would like to acquaint your club or organization with what’s possible in a short 5-10 minute presentation at your next meeting. You could be missing out on many life-changing events (all FREE) just because you don’t know what’s going on at the Altadena Library.  The library has programs for everyone from toddlers to job seekers to aspiring writers, and events the whole family can enjoy. Whether you want to learn the computer or get your kids to enjoy reading, or even find your voice as a writer, the library can help make it so. Individual membership to the Friends is only $10 a year. Family memberships are $25. Call Mark Mariscal at 323-816-6713 or Chair Barbara Freberg today at 626-398-1265 to arrange a presentation for your club or organization.