2020 Standout Friends Featurette #5: Grand Rapids

For the Friends of Grand Rapids Area Library, leader Bonnie Gelle is not just instrumental. She is foundational. Her name can be found front and center in the group’s 1985 incorporation papers.  

In those early years, Bonnie put together Grand Rapids’ first book sales in the modest basement of the community’s old Carnegie Library. (Nowadays, COVID notwithstanding, that sale is a summer bonanza that spans three days.)  

Bonnie was also present when Itasca Community Television opened its first studio at Itasca Community College. For years, she partnered with a TV crew to broadcast story times – a popular supplement to the public library’s children’s programming. (At present, the children’s department in Grand Rapids is the busiest outside of Duluth in the Arrowhead region, and the Friends’ commitment to the library’s efforts continues apace.)
“Over the years, Bonnie has also served as secretary and president,” explained group treasurer Susan Hayes. “If you ask her, she’ll tell you that she served as president ‘way too many years’ - but you will not find a Friend among us who agrees with her on that one!”

Who is your Bonnie Gelle?

Last year brought a daunting array of challenges for libraries and their support organizations. However, it also gave volunteers new opportunities to showcase their ingenuity, dedication, and service ethos.

With these standout individuals in mind, MALF is pleased to renew Stand Up for Standout Friends for its 6th consecutive year! 
Click here to learn how to nominate a peer for this recognition. Each and every MALF member organization is invited to put one name forward for 2021!