PHILADELPHIA – Five Friends groups were recognized for winning National Friends of Libraries Week Awards by the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF) during the ALTAFF Gala Author Tea, held during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Boston. The awards are jointly sponsored by the Lana and Michael Porter Foundation and ALTAFF. Each group received a $250 check and a certificate.
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The five winning Friends groups were Friends of San Pedro (Calif.) Library, Friends of Lake Community Branch Library (Uniontown, Ohio), Library Friends of Conroe (Conroe, Texas), Friends of Birmingham (Ala.) Public Library and Empire Friends Roundtable (New York State). They were recognized for creativity and innovation; involvement of Friends, library staff and Trustees; recognition of Friends group and promotion of Friends group to the community during National Friends of Libraries Week, Oct. 18-24, 2009.
Friends of San Pedro Library celebrated National Friends of Libraries Week with activities that included participation of Friends members, library staff, library patrons, civil officials, local merchants and local news media. An essay contest was held for children, young adults and adults on the topic “Why I Like the Library.” An award reception was held to recognize the winners, who read their essays and received a certificate, an “I Love San Pedro Library” bumper sticker and their choice of an item from the library book store.
The Friends of the Lake Community Branch Library used the slogan “Libraries Need Friends More Than Ever” as part of its 2009 celebration of National Friends of Libraries Week. The publicity surrounding the celebration set the stage for the Friends’ 2010 membership drive and included outdoor signage, radio announcements and news releases. The Friends’ annual meeting was held Oct. 21, featuring author David Lee Morgan, Jr., who discussed his recently published sports titles.
Library Friends of Conroe celebrated National Friends of Libraries Week with a Pirate’s Treasure Party at the library on the Friday of that week. County officials, library board members and local media were among those who received the 350 invitations. At the party, the Friends gave out certificates to volunteers. In advance of the party, a table promoting the Friends was set up at the library that included brochures, membership applications, activity sheets for children and bookmarks.
The Friends of Birmingham Public Library celebrated National Friends of Libraries Week for the first time in 2009. The group used the opportunity to launch a fundraising and membership campaign. The City of Birmingham presented the Friends with a proclamation thanking them for their funding and support of library programs. The Friends also hosted a successful luncheon for volunteers, Trustees and staff, encouraging them to join the Friends. Overall, the fundraising/membership campaign resulted in 100 new members and raised more than $2,800.
For its 2009 National Friends of Libraries Week celebration, the Empire Friends Roundtable continued their initiative to promote the celebration of National Friends of Libraries Week to Friends groups throughout New York State. Using the funds they received for winning a 2008 National Friends of Libraries Week Award, plus a donated amount of $50, the Empire Friends held its own contest for the best celebration of National Friends of Libraries Week in New York State. Thanks to support from the Legislative Committee of the New York Library Association (NYLA) and the action by Michael Borges, NYLA director, the New York State Assembly passed Assembly #748, declaring Oct. 18-24, 2009, as National Friends of Libraries Week.
More details about the winners may be found at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/altaff/friends/grantsawards/friendsweek/2009.cfm.
National Friends of Libraries Week offers a two-fold opportunity to celebrate. Friends groups can use the time to creatively promote their group in the community, to raise awareness, and to promote membership. The celebration also offers an excellent opportunity for the library staff and board of trustees to recognize the Friends for their help and support of the library. The next National Friends of Libraries Week will be celebrated Oct. 17-23, 2010. For more information and resources, visithttp://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/altaff/altaff/folweek.
ALTAFF is a division of ALA with approximately 5,000 Friends of the Library, Trustee, Foundation and individual members and affiliates representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters. Begun in early 2009 with the merger of Friends of Libraries U.S.A. (FOLUSA) and the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates (ALTA), the new division brings together Trustees and Friends into a partnership that unites the voices of citizens who support libraries to create a powerful force for libraries in the 21st Century. For more information about ALTAFF, please contact Jillian Kalonick at (312) 280-2161 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Minnesota Association of Library Friends Presents
2010 Best Projects by Friends of Libraries
Garden Party Tea and Silent Auction
Friends of the Cokato Area Library
On a cold afternoon in March, 98 gardeners, foodies, tea-drinkers, photographers, artists, musicians, Red Hat Ladies, and library-lovers came together in Cokato to share a delicious lunch in the midst of a “sunny spring garden,” when Friends of the Cokato Area Library hosted a Garden Party Tea and Silent Auction fundraiser for library expansion. A serene garden-scape was set by the beautiful oil paintings of a local artist on display and by the close up photographs of flowers provided by the Cokato Photo Club. A Scandinavian folk band added to the festivities. Every item on the unique, four-course menu contained an ingredient from the garden. Following the lunch, the Cokato librarian briefly explained the library’s need for expansion. The Friends realized a net profit from the event of $2,241 toward the building project.
Contact: Konnie Miller, 320-543-3765, email@example.com
Children’s Book Bins
Friends of Eden Prairie Library
Given the extraordinary circulation of juvenile items in their library, highest of all 41 Hennepin County libraries, the Friends of the Eden Prairie Library have raised $5,175, as part of a much larger fundraising goal, to provide book bins in the children’s area of the library. Although the bins were included as part of the library’s remodeling plan, they were eliminated due to budget constraints. Books have been kept in storage and on rolling carts. With funding provided by the Eden Prairie Foundation and by the Friends of the Library, working together with other community groups including local high school students, Eden Prairie Women of Today, Dunn Brothers Coffee Shops, Flagship Bank, local business owners and child care centers, the wonderful collection of children’s books will be more fully accessible to children and their families.
Contact: Maura Steblay, 952-934-5099, firstname.lastname@example.org
Upgrade of Computers
Friends of Ely Public Library
After being selected as one of only 18 libraries in Minnesota to receive a Gates Foundation grant named “Turning the Page: Building Your Library Community,” the Friends of the Ely Public Library provided matching funds to strengthen their library community. As a result of their participation in the Gates program, Friends established a program to update the library’s 12 existing computers, purchased between 1997 and 2006, and to purchase 5 new computers for public use. The Ely library provides computer use and free internet access to the public. During 2010, the Friends funded the installation of the five new public computers and contributed to the funding of new staff computers. Their fundraising efforts are ongoing.
Contact: Joe Owens, 218-365-2522, JoeCarolin@aol.com
Festival of the Wreaths
Friends of Fergus Falls Public Library
The Friends of Fergus Falls Public Library planned the Festival of Wreaths as a fundraiser. The intent was to create an intriguing new project that would appeal to both bibliophiles and the creative arts community, while drawing attention to the library as a community asset and to the Friends as the library’s staunch supporter. Twenty-six undecorated wreaths were purchased and distributed to individuals or groups for decorating, with instructions to use a book as their design theme. The twenty-six completed wreaths, reflecting books such as
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Millions of Cats, Where the Wild Things Are, and the Friday Night Knitting Club were displayed in the library’s meeting room. Silent auction bids continued for two weeks.
Friends of the Library hosted a fun reception for announcing 26 winning bidders who received book-themed wreaths. The Friends’ income from the fundraiser, after expenses, was over $900.
Contact: Sara Thronsedt, 218-739-5271, email@example.com.
Library Basement Renovation and Friends Formation
Henderson Friends of the Library
To provide funds needed to finish a basement in the library, the Henderson Friends of the Library helped solicit donations from other community organizations and served as fiscal agent for the project. Together with the GFWC Ladies Tourist Club, Lions Club, City Council, Golden Age Club, Heritage Committee, Chamber of Commerce, and other groups, they raised the funds necessary to complete new meeting and activity rooms and to provide a handicapped-accessible entry into the lower level. The project was described in the local newspaper, and the Friends have received many compliments on the finished rooms. Numerous activities have been held there since December 2009.
Contact: Judy Loewe, 507-248-3345, firstname.lastname@example.org
Babies, Love, Books
Friends of the Little Falls Carnegie Library
At the suggestion of Librarian Stephen Miller, the Friends of the Little Falls Carnegie Library provided funds for the purchase of 500 book bags to be presented to all the mothers of newborns at St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Little Falls. The objective was to encourage mothers of newborns to read to their babies, thus fostering a love of reading and use of the library. The bags contain two carefully chosen board books suitable for young babies, along with a coupon for a third book available to them at the library and a membership form for the Friends of the Library. From the enthusiastic response of the mothers as reported by the maternity nurses and from the letters of thanks they have received, the Friends consider the program to be an outstanding success.
Contact: Karol Charon, 320-749-2382, email@example.com
Hans Mayer Concert Fundraiser
The Mille Lacs Friends of the Library
After receiving an offer from a talented musician and library patron to do a benefit children’s concert, the Mille Lacs Friends of the Library decided that a good way to raise money for a planned library expansion would be to present the concert together with a book sale and a bake sale. The two sales brought in about $400, and the Friends received $45 in additional donations. Thirty-five children and adults attended the concert. A core group of Friends served as sales persons, and a larger group of library patrons donated books and baked goods. Publicity included an announcement in the local paper and flyers around town. The Friends hope to do another book/bake sale in the spring.
Contact: Kathy Morrow, 320-676-3929, firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends of the Northfield Public Library
The year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Northfield’s Carnegie library building. As part of the celebration of that event, the Friends of the Library created a 2010 calendar, featuring historic photos and information about the library and its influence on Northfield’s civic and intellectual life. In addition to being sold to the public, the calendar was distributed at other centennial events and was part of a multi-pronged effort to draw attention at a crucial time to the library’s long and vital role in the community.
Contact: Mary Schier, 507-663-0726, email@example.com,
or Lisa Wisdorf, 507-645-6606, firstname.lastname@example.org
Book It! 5K Walk/Run
The Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries
In May of 2010, the Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries sponsored a Book It! 5K Walk/Run, which started and ended on the grounds of the newly reconstructed Roseville Library at the intersection of County Road B and Hamline Avenue. This was one of the fundraising events conducted as part of the Roseville Library Capital Campaign. In addition to raising money for the new Children’s Outdoor Reading Garden and the opening collection, the event increased the library’s visibility with younger members of the community. The event also helped transform the image of Friends from a group of retirees to a more dynamic and age diverse organization. Over 360 people ranging in age from 2 to 75 and 50 volunteers participated in the event, which netted over $3,800. The short-term results and long-term impact greatly exceeded expectations. The Book It! 5K Walk/Run will become an annual Friends’ Fundraiser.
Contact: Sue Gehrz, Director, The Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries, 651-486-2213, email@example.com
Threads of Our Community - 2010 Best Project
Friends of the Rochester Public Library
Inspired by a five-year quilting project in Canada and aware of a project by Friends of Pelican Rapids Library, staff and volunteers of Rochester Public Library conceived a ‘community quilt’ as a work of art to complement an upcoming RACE exhibit to be held at the library from May to September 2010 in conjunction with the Mayo Clinic. Named Threads of Our Community, the Friends’ project was designed to show the diversity of the Rochester community. Local artists were invited to submit quilt blocks reflecting their unique needlework traditions and culture. 55 quilt blocks were received representing 40 countries, backgrounds, cultures, and needlework skills. Two talented Friends of Rochester Library wove the 55 blocks into a single piece of art. Displayed in the library, the quilt complemented the RACE exhibit which asked ‘Are We So Different?’ while viewing race through the lens of biology, history and culture. The quilt is also the subject of a book with full color photographs and descriptions of each square and culture. Community Education is funding this publication. Displayed in library for all to see and enjoy, the quilt will be auctioned off in 2011 to raise funds for the library.
Contact: Shirley Edmonson, 507-288-7553, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gaming for Everyone
Friends of the Rockford Library
After receiving a request from the library for funds to purchase Wii gaming systems and software, the Friends of the Rockford Library provided funding to the library for this purpose. Young adults, the Friends were told, are one of the largest groups of library users, but also one of the most difficult to effectively serve. Having gaming systems available at the library demonstrates to younger library users that they are valued customers and provides an incentive for teens to come into the library and to use the library’s services more fully. An additional benefit of the Wii games is that they enhance intergenerational activities and have appeal to persons aged 55 and over.
Contact: Trish Clancy, 763-537-9001, email@example.com
Friends of the St. James Public Library
Friends of the St. James Library took a book and author event to a whole new level in presenting authors Rae Katherine Eighmey and Debbie Miller speaking about their book Potluck Paradise: Favorite Fare from Church and Community Cookbooks. Following a talk and cooking demonstration by the authors, the Friends engaged First Presbyterian Church women to host a lunch and create a recipe book that includes recipes for all of the dishes served at the event, in effect creating their own church cookbook. Tables were decorated with old fashioned cooking and baking equipment. Displays of vintage aprons, church and community cookbooks, and cooking-themed mysteries created a festive atmosphere. A group of Waverly Lutheran Church ladies, whose cookbook was a favorite of the two authors, were special guests at the event. In sponsoring this program, the St. James Library Friends not only raised the profile of the library and the Friends, but drew attention to a Minnesota Book Award nominated book. With the help of a grant from The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, they covered their expenses.
Contact: Helen Ensey, 507-375-5305, firstname.lastname@example.org
Love Your Library
Friends of the Sandstone Library
The summer 2009 News from The Library of America proclaimed, With Friends Like These . . . The Sky’s the Limit! The article, accompanied by photos of the bookcases and five members of The Friends of Sandstone Library, stated ‘The Friends of the Library in Sandstone, Minnesota recently celebrated their new Classics Corner, which houses 184 volumes from the Library of America.’
Contact: Melissa Grabau, 218-372-8722, email@example.com
Collaboration with Sentencing to Serve (STS) Program
Friends of the Southdale Library
For its annual book sale, the Friends of the Southdale Library collaborated with the Hennepin County Sentencing to Service (STS) program, an alternative sentencing program for adult and juvenile offenders. A crew of eight adults was assigned to help set up tables, unpack boxes, and arrange sale books by rough Dewey subject areas. At the end of the day, all of the STS crew, their supervisor, and Friends’ members enjoyed a sense of camaraderie and achievement. The two groups have agreed to continue collaborating in future, starting with the November book sale.
Contact: Ardis Wexler, 952-925-2097, firstname.lastname@example.org
New Library Construction and Friends Formation
Staples Friends of the Library
The recently formed Staples Friends of the Library showed leadership in providing the initiative and energy behind the opening of a new public library in February 2010. The Friends group formed in 2007. For three years the board and its members participated in building discussions and planning, facilitated program fundraising, led a successful capital campaign, and helped put together a three-day Grand Opening celebration for the community. Working closely with Great River Regional Library staff to help design the new library facility, the Friends coordinated visits to various library facilities in central Minnesota. They held numerous fundraising events in 2009 including a book sale, a root beer float sale during the city’s Rail Road Days celebration, and a hot dog sale in the park as part of the 100th Year Anniversary of the Staples Public Library. Between October and December 2009, the Friends raised over $30,000 for the new library. Since the new library’s opening, circulation has increased dramatically and attendance at library programs has grown significantly. In an area of the state with high levels of poverty, these increases in library support and library use are particularly significant.
Contact: Gloria Palmer, 218-894-1204, email@example.com
Friends of Thorson Memorial Library, Elbow Lake
“Not the Library Your Mother Remembers” was the theme for the annual Library-A-Thon fundraiser at the Thorson Memorial Library in Elbow Lake. Sponsored by the Friends of the library, the two-day event included activities for all ages such as arts and crafts, a Scrabble tournament, Books for Bingo, a family movie, and a teen movie with all the popcorn teens could eat. Refreshments provided throughout the event included coffee and donuts at the library, a soup and sandwich lunch, supper with after-dinner entertainment, and a Lions pancake breakfast . Working together, the Friends and the staff of the library planned all the activities for this major fundraising event. Local businesses, community organizations and city officials volunteered their services in support of the library.
Contact: Gwen Brutlag, 218-458-2113 (h) or 218-739-8761, firstname.lastname@example.org