Questions For: June Bertoni and Joan Erkelens

El Paso de Robles Area Historical Society docents


NEW TIMES Where do you two volunteer?

BERTONI We volunteer at the Carnegie Library in Paso Robles.


NEW TIMES Why did you choose to volunteer here?

BERTONI Because I was born here and I love it, and I can tell people about the times from what I remember.

ERKELENS Everybody just loves it here in Paso Robles.


NEW TIMES Why is it called the Carnegie Library?

ERKELENS Mr. Andrew Carnegie gave us a grant in 1907 for $10,000.

BERTONI You see, the ladies used to meet up at the Acorn Building, and so the gentlemen needed a place to meet. They asked Carnegie for the grant ...

ERKELENS … and Mr. Carnegie wanted a place for the kids to get books so he gave us a grant for the money.


NEW TIMES What kind of displays does the Carnegie Library have?

BERTONI We have all kinds of displays. Right now we have a pioneer family display, which is Daniel Lewis’ family ...

ERKELENS … and of course we have a display for Mr. Carnegie …

BERTONI … and we also have a display for the Paso Robles Bearcats and a holiday display. We also have a Paderewski display.


NEW TIMES I see you have a statue of Paderewski out in front of the library. Who was he?

ERKELENS Well he was once the Premier of Poland.

BERTONI And he was a famous pianist. He came here because his doctor in San Francisco said the hot springs would be good for his arthritis. He also had a couple of ranches out here as well. People came here for the purpose of the hot springs at the Paso Robles hotel.

ERKELENS It was the elite place. It was halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.


NEW TIMES What is located downstairs in the Carnegie Library?

BERTONI That is where the genealogy and research is done.


NEW TIMES How does someone become a volunteer?

ERKELENS Just come in and tell us that you want to work. We really need people on the weekends.


NEW TIMES When is the Carnegie Library open?

BERTONI We are closed on Monday and Wednesday, and we open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the other days—except Sunday we open at noon to 4 p.m.

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