Volunteers, from left, Betty Holpert, Marcia Fisher, Carole Seminoff, Aimee Poll and Rona Rosenberg display some of the original art donated for "An All Animal Afternoon" Circle of Book Clubs Literary Salon and Animal-Inspired Art Auction.


As you count your blessings this Thanksgiving, volunteers with the Pima Library Foundation suggest you consider making a donation that will count for book lovers, animal lovers, art lovers and everyone who uses local libraries.

You can support all of these by attending the Pima Library Foundation Circle of Book Clubs Literary Salon featuring veterinarian Kristen Nelson, author of "Coated With Fur: A Vet's Life" on Dec. 2 at On a Wing and a Prayer Arabian Ranch in Marana.

"It will be 'An All Animal Afternoon' at an Arabian horse ranch. Not only do we have Dr. Nelson introducing her book, 'Coated With Fur,' but in addition, more than 40 Tucson artists and photographers have contributed animal-inspired works of art for the silent auction," said Rona Rosenberg, co-chairwoman of the Circle of Book Clubs, a fundraising arm of the Pima Library Foundation.

The Pima Library Foundation is a nonprofit group established in 1999 to build a permanent endowment trust that will generate proceeds to fund library programs, services and media collections that are not funded by standard operating budgets.

Those programs and services range from financial literacy classes and legal-aid clinics for adults to literary outreach for residents of nursing homes.

The foundation has provided more than $54,000 to expand the library's Homework Help program to an additional 10,000 children throughout the county. Homework Help provided free after-school tutoring with professional teachers at local libraries to more than 28,000 students last year.

"Some people joke that the Friends of the Library are the day-to-day checkbook to support the libraries and Pima Library Foundation is the long-term savings account, since we are able to make multiyear commitments," said John Byrnes, president of the Pima Library Foundation board of directors.

"Homework Help is a program that we believe in very strongly, and we will continue to fund it as long as kids need it."

The Circle of Book Clubs has been key to the Pima Library Foundation's success, Byrnes said.

Spearheaded by Betty Holpert, who worked as a local librarian for almost 20 years, the Circle of Books was designed to tap into Tucson's local book clubs, which Byrnes estimate number at least 200.

Each year the Circle of Book Clubs sponsors several literary salons that feature prominent local and national authors. The salons offer participants the chance to meet writers and learn about the writing process while sharing their passion for reading and supporting the libraries that so many of them utilize.

"The public library is a grass-roots institution, and we want to keep it relevant to everyone out there. Our libraries are at the forefront of change, with outstanding staff for guidance and personal computers and electronic downloads of books … it is mind-boggling how they have changed," Holpert said.

"The public library is here for you. You pay your dues through taxes, and it is for all of you out there to use and learn anything that you want to."

After more than 45 years of advocacy and involvement, Holpert is convinced that the public library remains as vital as ever to the community.

"I have always called it a community treasure. You can dig up anything and find wonderful experiences and lifelong learning at the public library," she said.


• What: "An All Animal Afternoon" Circle of Book Clubs Literary Salon and Animal-Inspired Art Auction to benefit the Pima Library Foundation.

• When: 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 2.

• Where: On a Wing and a Prayer Arabian Ranch, 12465 W. Emigh Road in Marana.

• Cost: $35 per person ($25 is tax-deductible).

• The details: Festivities include a book talk and signing with Dr. Kristen Nelson, a veterinarian and author of "Coated With Fur: A Vet's Life."

• Tickets: To reserve your seat, send a check payable to Pima Library Foundation, P.O. Box 13245, Tucson 85732. For more information go to www.library.pima.gov/about/news/?id=4351 or call Betty at 747-3310 or Marcia at 982-3583.

The event will also feature wine, refreshments and a silent auction of more than 40 pieces of animal-inspired art by local artists and photographers.

All proceeds benefit the Pima Library Foundation and the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

Contact Loni Nannini at ninch2@comcast.net