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A spat for the books

Fundraising group gets its dander up over terms of licensing agreement with county library officials.

January 10, 2013|By Barbara Diamond

Laguna Beach Friends of the Library Assn. officials have been up in arms about the terms of a licensing agreement dictated by the Orange County Public Library.

The library support group rebelled against terms they said originally stipulated that all money raised by the Friends for the local branch had to be turned over to the county system. A Dec. 12 letter warned that they would be ousted at the end of January from the book store the group has operated for more than two decades if the agreement was not signed by Dec. 31.

Association officials have asked Orange County Fifth District Supervisor Pat Bates to intervene, according to Martha Lydick, longtime president of the local Friends organization.

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"We are at war with the OCPL," Lydick said. "They had threatened to padlock our bookshop at the end of January if we didn't sign the agreement."

Board member Sandy Hovanesian said she was told that the money raised by the association belongs to OCPL, which the association disputes.

Telephone calls to verify Bates' assistance or the declaration that the association money belongs to OCPL were not returned by press time.

County Librarian Helen Fried said Thursday that the association has been notified in a second letter of a time extension to sign the agreement.

"I did receive an email that extended the time until Feb. 15, but we can't give the money to OCPL even if we wanted to," Lydick said. "Donations made to us are tax-deductible because we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and OCPL isn't."

Further, Lydick said an association bylaw dated June 2004 states that upon termination of operations, assets of the association will be turned over to the Laguna branch or its successor for the exclusive use of the community.

In the latest email from the county, it backed off from a previous threat that originally riled Friends officials:

"Failure to execute the lease will result in your group's vacating of the premises within a 30 day time period."

Terms on of the new lease agreement include:

"For the purpose of demonstrating continued benefit to substantiate the waiver of the License Fee hereunder, all funds, gross receipts, or moneys, less applicable sales tax, less appropriate operating expenses, ("Funds") collected by Licensee related to its 'Friends of the Library' fundraising activities shall be for the benefit of OC Public Libraries or to a specific OC Public Libraries branch library as designated by Licensee.

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