Welcome to the Ojai Valley Library Friends and Foundation, Inc. (OVLFF)
Ojai Valley Library Friends & Foundation, Inc. (OVLFF)
A California 501 (c)(3) Corporation


Another Successful Program!
Click HERE to see pictures of the event (courtesy of Fred Rothenberg)

Historical Ice Cream Social
By David Mason




On September 7, 1892, the Congregational Church announced that it was endeavoring to establish "a free circulating library, where young men and others can go and get whatever reading matter they may select." Mrs. F.B. Barrows was leading this movement with an appeal for the donation of books, magazines and newspapers.

One month from this date the library committee of the Ojai Club, meeting at the Congregational Church, reported that they had not yet secured enough money to buy the needed books. February of 1893, a candy sale under the direction of Mrs. J. K. Newton, custodian of the library fund, earned $10.65 for the benefit of the cause. Later the same month the Library Committee of the club judged it wise to wait until there was more money in the fund, and then to buy only hard-covered books.

A Garden Party under the auspices of the Fortnightly, for raising money for an Ojai Valley reading room, was held under the oaks near the Woolsey Cottage on April 21, 1893. Attendance was large. It was an affair which interested everybody and they did their utmost to make it a success, socially and financially. Booths under the oaks were decorated with palms, bamboos, and Japanese lanterns. Young ladies robed in white sold candy, ice cream, cake, sherbet, and lemonade. An orchestra of violin, cornet, trombone and piano furnished music. In addition there were banjo and guitar trios, and vocal quartets. Mr. S. D. Thacher furnished a novelty with Chinese music played by "Professors Hung and Hing," employees of the school ranch. Money receipts were about $100.00, of which $80 went to the library fund.

The Garden Party was such a success that on April 26, 1893, The Ojai (the local newspaper of that time) under the heading "WE'LL HAVE A LIBRARY?" devoted a full column to the affair, concluding with a card of thanks to those who had contributed to its success.

The efforts to establish a library reached a very definite stage when on May 9, 1893, Mr. S.D. Thacher announced that the family and friends of the late George Thacher, who had died in Ojai about five years before, "wished to make a memorial to him and had decided to give $500 for a free public library for the Ojai Valley, to be known as the George Thacher Library."

A re-enactment and celebration of this historical event will take place at the Theodore Woolsey House on April 21, 2005 at 5 p.m. Local historian and businessman David Mason is chairing the program.