October 8, 2007

SB library gets gift of $749K

By Michael Sorba, Staff Writer
San Bernardino Sun

SAN BERNARDINO - A $749,000 gift left to the library from the estate of Arda M. Haenszel is unlikely to be spent any time soon.

Library officials say the money has been placed in the San Bernardino City Library Foundation endowment fund. Interest from the money, however, is expected to be used to fund improvements at the various libraries in the city eventually.

The San Bernardino City Library Foundation Board of Directors is slated to meet Dec. 5 to consider which projects to fund next year with money from the endowment. Interest from the extra $700,000-plus could help pay for improvements such as renovating the children's room at the Feldheym Library and bringing in big-name American authors to conduct guest literary lectures. The foundation is expecting to donate about $40,000 next year.

"We are just thrilled with this bequest," said Millicent Price, principal librarian at the Feldheym Library. "It's so fitting that the money comes from Arda. She knew so much about the local area, and she was a teacher so she liked to pass on her knowledge to others."

Haenszel, who was a teacher in San Bernardino for 31 years, is described by friends as a walking encyclopedia on the local area.

She died in 2002 and left her life savings behind to support three elderly friends.
The last of the three friends recently passed away. This triggered a stipulation in her will transferring any remaining money to the San Bernardino City Library Foundation, Price said.

Haenszel's donation bolstered the endowment fund to about $1.8 million, said Maureen Godfrey, the foundation's president.

"We don't have any major fundraisers," said Godfrey, "so the money will keep the perpetuity of the endowment going."

Interest and other money generated from the endowment fund is used to help the city's public libraries.

Last year about $50,000 generated from the endowment fund paid for early literacy computers and children's books for the library system.