The Lester and Ruth Sendecki Permanent Book Fund

A person’s bookshelves say a lot about them. The shelves of Lester and Ruth Sendecki reveal passions for travel, jeeping, and American culture. There’s The Roadside Geology of Colorado, The Naturalist’s Guide to the Southern Colorado Rockies, The Autobiography of Mark Twain, the travel books of Peter Jenkins and William Least Heat-Moon, and The Red Hole in Time by Muriel Marshall, which describes the history of Escalante Canyon, north of Delta. The Sendeckis’ Permanent Book Fund purchases travel and animal books for the shelves at Montrose Regional Library, and last year the Fund generated $150 to purchase nine new titles, including Rick Steves’ Best of Europe 2012 and Avian Architecture: How Birds Design, Engineer & Build.

Almost two years ago, Lester and Ruth Sendecki moved to Montrose from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Lester retired from a career in the Small Business Administration, where he says he “had the best job in the federal government,” helping businesses secure government contracts after they’d been rejected for being “too small to do the job.” Ruth was born in Louisiana and spent her career as a loan review officer in the banking industry. She now lends her spreadsheet knowledge as a volunteer at the Montrose Regional Library.

Libraries and reading have played an important role in their lives. Ruth remembers reading to her mother as she washed dishes, and the moment she realized that “Run, Spot, run,” opened the world of reading. Lester recalls many hours spent at the public library across from his high school in Nutley, New Jersey, and he showed me a picture of it that he made sure appeared in his high school yearbook.

Lester and Ruth often visited the Cedar Rapids Public Library, until it was devastated by a flood in 2008. The Library has since rebuilt, and the Sendeckis were pleased to donate many books to the Library when they decided to make the move to Montrose. They used books to research the options for where they wanted to retire, and Montrose ultimately won out over Prescott, Arizona. The Montrose Regional Library was one of the factors that informed their decision. In fact, I had the pleasure of leading them on a tour of the Library prior to their decision to move. They believe that the Library is very impressive for a community of Montrose’s size. They especially enjoy the Library’s many program offerings, and Ruth is currently enrolled in the Library’s Spanish class.

In addition to travel and jeeping books, Ruth reads “just about everything.” Lester enjoys historical fiction and magazines, and the Sendeckis recently made a gift to the Library to ensure that Car and Driver stays on the shelf in the midst of the Library’s recent budget cuts. Twelve years ago, Ruth decided to take her passion for books and travel to the next level and wrote a book called Without a Passport. It’s a delightful chronicle of the road trips that she and Lester have taken…from the Million Dollar Highway to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. In her introduction, Ruth writes, “After you have finished reading this, I hope…that you get out your road atlas, this book, and any other guides you have at home and begin planning a road trip.” Thanks to the Sendecki’s generosity, the Montrose Regional Library will have a fresh supply of guide books each year to help you plan your next trip.