Magnus Toren on the state of the Library, its fundraising drive, and new store!

The Henry Miller Library in Big Sur has been closed since Feb. due to the closure of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge. It has absorbed a massive financial hit—$60,000 and counting!  No weddings, no events, no book sales, etc….

It sent up a GoFundMe page to help stem the tide, so do feel free, dear reader, to chip in and/or tell your friends and share the FB link.

Any little bit of support — financial or social media love — helps tremendously.


Meanwhile, on May 28, 2017 the Library will be opening a new gallery/bookstore in the Barnyard shopping center off Rio Rd. in Carmel.  A new location advances the Library’s mission of promoting the arts during a time when we could all use more of it.

Library Executive Director Magnus Toren recently “sat down” with me, Mike, to talk about the Library’s current state, the genesis of the new store, and the road ahead.  Enjoy!

In late February, “it sunk in, kind of piecemeal, we’re losing the bridge!” Magnus said.  “At first I thought OK they’ll be able to shore this up, retrofit something. Then I thought OK there’ll be a temporary bridge built, like in the movies, the Army Corps of Engineers comes in like the cavalry and just installs one.

“But no, and when I heard that wouldn’t happen I thought maybe a shuttle, a gondola like in the Austrian alps, or what about a hot air balloon, you know like a big Zeppelin pulled from one end to the other!….then it truly sunk in…it’s gone!…and we’ll have a trail, and a pretty tough one at that, for at least six months. In fact to start with the word was more like ‘at least a year.’

“The question then was: What are we going to do? How can we continue to do our work? It didn’t take long to recognize that we had to move to town if we wanted to interact with people. At first I thought a trailer somewhere, a small bookstore, then I got more ambitious, maybe we can rent a space somewhere?

“I have friends working in and around the Barnyard I made a few phone calls and the Barnyard gave us a very generous offer for a 1650 square feet space!

“This whole thing then takes on a whole new dimension! Now something has taken on a life of its own. This is not just a move to town but a chance to really do something exciting, creative and new! Do some things I have been wanting to do for a long time!

“The space will afford us the chance to do exhibits in a wholly different way than at the Library. We have, unbeknownst to most, a deep archive and a treasure of books and art that we’ve never really been exhibiting – now’s the chance to show some of it.

“The space we have is big enough for good sized indoor gatherings and I look forward to doing film series, music and a speaker series – the speaker series being focused on the natural and cultural history of Big Sur!

“We are bringing a part of Big Sur to town – Big Sur the place down south that is cut in half! Perhaps most exciting of all – we are Bringing Books Back to the Barnyard!

“Someone asked me: ‘Will it be a place ‘where nothing happens’ like down south?’

“I said, ‘No, something is happening here we just don’t know what it is!”

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