It is with great sorrow that we say goodbye to Donna Rueff, a longtime friend of the library, a member of the Senior Book Break group, and the author of our very popular Books by the Beach book review blog.

We all miss her and her absolute and highly- contagious love of books.

Friend and former Library Board Member Megan Barnhard remembered some of the many reasons Donna found companionship, respect, and admiration for her contributions to readers, appreciation of many genres of books, and for speaking her mind with well thought out debate.

“Donna enjoyed a long and fulfilling career in IT. She was passionate about her work and the opportunity to support young minds blossoming.

“When she retired to Pismo Beach, she became a regular attendee of the GBCL Senior Book Break. (She was there from the time I took over the book break in 2014.) Not only was Donna an avid reader, she loved discussing books and writing about them. This led to her donating her time to write the Books by the Beach Blog for the library website, where her reviews delighted readers and brought new folks into the library in search of the titles they’d read about on the site and in the newsletter.

“Donna believed that access to great books was a right, not a privilege. When she was finished reading a book, she would frequently donate it to the Grover Beach Library so that others could have a chance to check it out. Her answer to the dilemma that all serious readers face — there’s only so much bookshelf space! — was to share generously. As a result, the library benefitted from Donna’s voracious appetite for good reads and received many new and interesting volumes on its shelves.

“In discussions at Senior Book Break, Donna always had deep insights to share and thoughtful questions to pose. She was a staple of the group’s discussions, and members appreciated the new titles and authors she would introduce. Donna’s passion for ideas was evident, often sparking serious debate and deep discourse during Book Break discussions. She also cared deeply for the group and would ask after the health of members who were absent.

“Donna was the kind of reader and thinker for whom libraries are made. Someone who never wants to stop learning. Someone who believes the only thing better than a good book is a lively discussion about a good book. Her presence and her passion will be missed.”

“A good book was always Donna’s favorite companion,” said friend and fellow Book Break member, Alice Carter. “She loved history, both factual and fictional. She was super smart and also very opinionated. She loved to keep up with all the political games going on in the world and could usually tell us the backstory to world events. She added a lot to our book group discussions. She will be missed.”

“Donna was an interesting character,” said Fran Strauser, friend, librarian and Book Break host. “Her love of books was immense. Though the time I knew her she was growing less mobile, she traveled far and wide, through many centuries, with books. No matter what subject or year you brought up, she was there, or had been there through the power of a well written book. She was never afraid to voice her views, and always considered it a good discussion, not an argument. That is not often found. She will be missed.”

Thank you for sharing your passion with us, Donna. It was an honor working with you and calling you friend.