Barbara Loomis (left) manager of the used media and book store in the library at SF State, assists customer Rick Yuen (right) in finding children’s books for his grandkids on Dec. 2, 2022. (Tatyana Ekmekjian / Golden Gate Xpress) (Tatyana Ekmekjian)
Barbara Loomis (left) manager of the used media and book store in the library at SF State, assists customer Rick Yuen (right) in finding children’s books for his grandkids on Dec. 2, 2022. (Tatyana Ekmekjian / Golden Gate Xpress)

Tatyana Ekmekjian

Gator Talk: Friends of the Leonard Library

December 4, 2022

Welcome to Gator Talk, the Xpress podcast that brings city perspectives to local, regional and national news.

Friends of the Library is a pop-up bookstore within the J. Paul Leonard Library at SF State that sells used books, DVDs and CDs. Friends of the Library President Barbara Loomis sat down with Xpress to talk about the benefits that the bookstore offers the SF State campus community. 

Check out the story here at Gator Talk.


Isabella: Hi, Gators! This is Isabella Vines, diversity editor of Golden Gate Xpress. Welcome back to another Gator Talk.  

With me today is Matthew Cardoza, Xpress copy editor and today’s guest.

Matthew: Hello, everyone.

Isabella: For more information and coverage, check out OR @GGXnews on all social media platforms.

Preview of the show

Isabella: Have you noticed the small bookstore inside SF State’s J. Paul Leonard Library? We found out that it’s called Friends of the Library. 

The bookstore’s President, Barbara Loomis, gave us an inside scoop on what the store has to offer the SF State community.

So let’s get into it.

Main Story 

Isabella: So Matthew, tell us about Loomis. 

Matthew: Well, she used to be a history professor at SF State but she’s retired now. Loomis chose to continue to support SF State through volunteering and managing the Friends of the Library bookstore. 

Isabella: That’s really cool! How did the bookstore start? 

Matthew: Initially the library was “burning books” by controversially throwing them away because they were old and or deemed unimportant. However, its founder Eric Solomon advocated for the books to be sold back to the students instead, starting in the 1980’s…. 

[interview audio begins]

Loomis: It’s a whole lot better to recycle books and make them available for other people to use rather than burning them because they’re state property so that was a very valuable start for the organization.

[interview audio ends]

Matthew: Loomis feels that books tell stories and that it’s important to share these stories rather than discard them. 

[interview audio begins]

Loomis: Books have souls and every time someone picks them up and reads them, their soul grows.

[interview audio ends]

Isabella: I agree, books never lose relevance, and stories last lifetimes. 

Matthew: Exactly. 

Isabella: So what exactly does the Friends of the Library have to offer? 

Matthew: Students can buy donated books, rent CDs and even buy movies for as little as $2… 

[interview audio begins]

Loomis: Typically it’s either $1 for paperbacks and $2. For hardbacks, every once in a while, we go up a little higher for a really fancy book and charge $5 for it or something, but it’s extremely reasonably priced. And the same thing with the CDs, which are $2 per disc and the DVDs which are $2 per disc.

[interview audio ends]

Isabella: That’s a pretty good deal, especially during the holidays. So what do they use the donations towards? 

Matthew: Well, they use it to support a number of things at SF State… 

[interview audio begins]

Loomis: So we spend money on projects that help the library. We have a scholarship fund so five students who either work in the library as student assistants or are one of our volunteers in the bookstore room are eligible to apply. It’s $2,000 apiece. We raised the money last I said for the remodeling of the library, some of it. We also donated a high-resolution scanner to the Bay Area television archives, which is here it’s located here in the Leonard Library. 

[interview audio ends]

Isabella: And with that, we’re going to take a quick break. 


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Cont. Main Story

Isabella: And we’re back. So Matthew, San Francisco’s libraries saw a decline in book-borrowing because of the pandemic. Did the pandemic have any effect on Friends of the Library? 

Matthew: Yeah. According to Loomis, it was pretty tough for them… 

[interview audio begins]

Loomis: It was rough. It was really rough. Most of our volunteers are over 60, and so we were forbidden to come on campus, even like a week before the whole campus closed, because all too old. It’s sort of slowed down our whole process of getting donations from people, and the sort of momentum that is created when students tell students about our bookstore.

[interview audio ends]

Isabella: Well I’m glad they’re getting some exposure now, rightfully so. 

Matthew: The more people that know about this bookstore, the better it can thrive. 

[interview audio begins]

Loomis: It’s so important to get books into the hands of readers. There’s so many people who discover how wonderful it is to have books once they get introduced to them. 

[interview audio ends]

News brief

Isabella: Here are some things that happened this week:

Gator Groceries is helping students combat living expenses by distributing free groceries, which include items ranging from fresh produce to milk and eggs. Gator Groceries is open by reservation Wednesday and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and for walk-ins on Fridays from noon to 2 p.m. in the Cesar Chavez Student Center. However, with limited supply, students find themselves competing for a grocery reservation. 

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to give city police the option to use remote-controlled, potentially lethal robots in emergency situations. The San Francisco Police Department said it currently doesn’t have pre-armed robots and has no plans to arm robots with guns. However, the department does have the option to deploy robots equipped with explosive charges “to contact, incapacitate or disorient violent, armed, or dangerous suspects” when lives are at stake. 

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors also passed a resolution on Tuesday that commended the people of Iran for protests and condemned the Iranian government for responding with repression and human rights abuses. The United Nations estimated at least 14,000 arrests from the protest and 300 deaths, including 40 children.


Isabella: And that’s all for today! This is Isabella Vines, diversity editor. 

Matthew: And Matthew Cardoza, copy editor. 

New episodes will premiere every other week starting this upcoming school year, so keep an ear out. 

And with that, have a great winter break, Gators!

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About the Contributors
Photo of Matthew Cardoza
Matthew Cardoza, Copy Editor
Matthew Cardoza (he/him) is the copy editor for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. He was born and raised in San Francisco, and still lives in the city. He was previously a part of The Guardsman, the campus newspaper of City College of San Francisco. Matthew likes to write about politics, culture and interesting events on and off campus. In his free time, he likes to drive around San Francisco, rock climb, play video games and hike in the wilderness.
Photo of Isabella Vines
Isabella Vines, Diversity Editor
Isabella Vines (she/her) is the diversity editor for Golden Gate Xpress. She's a senior at SF State, majoring in communications and journalism with a minor in race and resistance studies. Isabella is from and resides in the Bay Area. During her free time, she likes to travel, read and spend time with loved ones.
Photo of Tatyana Ekmekjian
Tatyana Ekmekjian, Staff Photographer
Tatyana Ekmekjian (she/her) is graduating this spring with a major in photojournalism and a minor in hospitality and tourism management at SF State. Tatyana has a great passion for the culture, industry and preparation of food. She hopes to express her passion for food through the medium of photography to further her success in the food and lifestyle industry.

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