Couple looking for alliteration, hoping for matching library donations |

Couple looking for alliteration, hoping for matching library donations

by Andy Bourelle

Books, books everywhere and not one – or very many – about Lake Tahoe.

That is going to change soon, however, if husband and wife Allan Schiffman and Phylis Ooi have anything to do about it.

The couple want to donate $10,000 – $20,000 with a community match – to the Lake Tahoe branch of the Douglas County Library to develop a Lake Tahoe Heritage Collection to focus on the economy, history and lifestyle of the region.

“We’re big users of the library,” Schiffman said. “We’ve been here about 15 months, and we were pleased with the quality of the library for such a small community. But, we thought we could help improve it.”

The Stateline couple want other Douglas County residents, businesses and organizations to make donations to the library for the collection. When those donations reach $10,000, Schiffman and Ooi will give $10,000, too.

“We’re really pleased,” said Linda Deacy, Douglas County library director. “When someone from the community can make this big of a donation, it really shows how much library services mean to people in the basin.”

Douglas County’s annual library book budget for both the lake and Carson Valley branches is about $120,000, and Deacy said about 25 percent of that goes to the lake library. With other state funds, the lake library usually is able to spend about $30,000 to $40,000 a year on books.

“This is a huge increase,” Deacy said.

The Lake Tahoe Heritage Collection is supposed to include materials on ski resorts and hotel management, forestry, gaming, Sierra wildlife and flora as well as high-altitude cooking, gardening and medicine and expanded coverage of skiing, sailing, hiking, camping and fishing.

“We wanted to give the library a niche,” Ooi said.

“I had the idea to have a special collection, and the library had the idea to make it special to Lake Tahoe,” Schiffman said.

Schiffman, a computer consultant, and Ooi moved from the Bay Area to Lake Tahoe to be “semi-retired.”

“You can always figure out things to spend your own money on. It’s nice to give to others,” Schiffman said. “I’m imagining feeling some major satisfaction when I see those shelves full of books. It’s kind of a nice feeling if you can make a contribution you can look at and feel and, in this case, read.”

The Tahoe-Douglas Library League is handling the donations and sending out letters to library patrons concerning the Lake Tahoe Heritage Collection.

The couple also is making a $10,000 donation to Douglas County Parks and Recreation to upgrade the playground at the library.

They decided to try the matching-fund approach to not only raise more money for the library than they were giving but also to get the community involved.

“I think it would be nice to get more people involved with the library,” Ooi said.

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