Best Library Friends Projects of 2011

Where’s the Book Bag
Friends of the Buffalo Library

Friends of the Buffalo Library sponsored a summer contest. The public was invited to purchase a library book bag for $9, take it on summer travels or walks around town, and snap a photo of the bag in front of a familiar landmark for a chance to win a prize. From June to August 2010 photos were submitted to bookbagpics@yahoo.com or brought to the library desk, listing name, phone, and location of photo. Photos were posted in the library when received. In September the public guessed the location of book bag photos. Posters encouraged readers to “Guess where The Friends of the Buffalo Public Library traveled this summer and match numbered photos of book bags’ travels (left column) with alphabetical locations (right column).” Friends awarded prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

Contact: Susan North, 612-205-5179, snorth43@yahoo.com


Children’s Book Bins-Eden Prairie Library
Friends of the Eden Prairie Library

The Eden Prairie Library has the highest circulation rate of juvenile materials in the entire Hennepin County Library system. Given the size of the library and number of annual visitors at the Eden Prairie Library, there is an extraordinary demand for children's materials. In 2009 alone, 607,641 juvenile items were checked out. Due to budget constraints, the Eden Prairie Library was only able to purchase half the desired number children's book bins after completion of the new library. The additional bins allow more items to be on the floor rather than in storage, making the materials more accessible to children. This project succeeded in raising the $21,100 necessary to acquire the rest of the children's book bins by bringing together a diverse group of people to raise the necessary money and benefit the children.

Contact: Emily Jacobsen, 952-886-0069, FriendsofEPLibrary@gmail.com


Backstreet Books                                             
Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library Friends Foundation

Inspired by the Douglas County Library in Alexandria and their presentation at the 2010 MLA Conference in Rochester, the newly formed JFHML Friends Foundation (established Feb 2011) opened a used bookstore on-site at the Library on July 12, 2011 to help meet a projected budget shortfall from the library’s benefactors. Backstreet Books, the European-flavored shoppe, features high quality books (all donations), reasonably priced (all $1-$3) and repurposed book art items created by staff and friends. A successful membership drive found 108 new friends for the Library and helped to raise over $3,000. . . . In the words of some enthusiastic Friends’ members, “We are on our way!”

Contact: Peggi Beseres, 218-546-8005, friends@hallettlibrary.org


Friends of Linden Hills Library Kick-Off
The Friends of Linden Hills Library

As part of forming a Friends group for a beloved and beautifully remodeled community library, a committee of seven founding members planned an Open House at the library, offering attractions for people of all ages and diverse backgrounds. The day’s activities included a music trio featuring traditional Scandinavian selections, crafts, games, a library treasure hunt, story hours led by various readers, and a visit from firefighters who brought their fire truck. Officials including a Hennepin County Commissioner and a City Council member spoke at the event. Light refreshments, a centerpiece for the refreshment table, and items for the raffle were all donated by local merchants. The Friends gained ten new members the day of the kick-off event and another 10 members in the days following. They took in $400 in donations and generated interest in the library and in the Friends with their hospitality.

Contact: Betsy Thomas, 612-926-4194, betsythomas1@mac.com


Many Cultures, One Community, a book of stories and recipes 
Friends of the Pelican Rapids Library                 

Friends of the Pelican Rapids Library, in collaboration with The Pelican Rapids Multicultural Committee and School District #548, created Many Cultures, One Community, a book of stories and recipes, to foster relationships within Pelican Rapids and in the larger community around Pelican Rapids. The purpose of the book is to share recipes from all the cultures that make up the community, and also to share the stories of the people who contributed those recipes. Recipes from over 20 different countries represented in town are included, as well as hunting and fishing recipes, recipes from ordinary cooks, from local restaurants and from participants in the local Farmer's Market. Each recipe is accompanied by a story about the donor. The book was published not a fundraiser, but as a way to change public opinion. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be used to print more copies.

Contact: Joan Ellison, 218-863-5904, joan.jarvis.ellison@gmail.com


Hot Reads for Cold Nights 2011 at the Red Wing Library  (Finalist)
Friends of the Red Wing Library

Friends of the Red Wing Library planned a winter adult reading program called Hot Reads for Cold Nights, which they presented in January, February and March of 2011. Several activities were included in the program. Three authors gave featured presentations: Kitty Gogins, author of My Flag Grew Stars; Gayla Marty, author of The Memory of Trees; and Thomas Saylor, author of Long Hard Road.  Reader bags full of incentives such as bookmarks, reading logs, Book Lover's Calendars, pencils, and tea bags were given away; and monthly contests were sponsored to stimulate written creativity. All activities created interest in use of the library and in the authors and their new works.  Attendance and interest were high. Program evaluations showed a successful literary lift in a snowy winter season.

Contact: Lois Burnes, 651-388-6465, burnes35@charter.net


The Christmas Bears
The Friends of the Redwood Falls Library

In November, the Friends decorated the library's large Christmas tree with lights, ribbons, garlands, and gold and silver ornaments. Signs were placed nearby, and informative bookmarks were handed out at the circulation desk encouraging patrons to contribute small teddy bears for the tree. Community members of all ages placed their gifts of teddies on the tree. The Friends supplemented the donations by contributing $50 to purchase additional bears. Everyone enjoyed the lovely tree and the warm, generous holiday spirit it displayed. When the holiday season ended, the bears were given to the Redwood Area Hospital to comfort hospitalized children. The project showcased the Redwood Falls Public Library, encouraged community involvement, and provided maximum goodwill and pleasure with minimum effort and funds. Best of all, it benefited children in special need.

Contact: Pat Van Stralen, 507-721-2125, pvanstralen@yahoo.com


Building It Together (Finalist)
Friends of the St. Michael - Albertville - Hanover Library

The Building It Together project came about as a new civic building, housing a library, senior center, and city offices, was beginning construction in St. Michael in early 2010. Due to budget cutbacks for furnishings by city government, a committee was put together to raise money locally. This group, comprised of citizens involved with the Crow River Senior Center, STMA Rotary Club, and in particular the Friends of the St. Michael-Albertville-Hanover Library, worked throughout the year into 2011, soliciting area businesses and organizations. The effort included production of media collateral and advertising, group presentations, parade-walking, planning, and countless face-to-face appeals. The initial fund raising goal was $50,000. To date the committee has raised just under $80,000 in completed and deferred payment donations. Library furniture, tables, shelving, benches, multimedia and other furnishings are the result.

Contact: Howard Burke, 763-425-3530, howieburke@gmail.com


Book It: The Party! (Finalist)
The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

The Friends of the SPPL launched a new series of social events designed to bring young professionals into the library and cultivate future leaders and donors. Book It: The Party! was developed by an ad hoc group of Metro-area trendsetters who are part of a demographic segment looking for new ways to volunteer and support their community. Events have featured local celebrities, friendly competitions, world -class food, cocktails, literature, art and music. The price of admission and expenses were kept low with the collaboration and support of many community partners and sponsors. We've had a spelling bee, scavenger hunt, and food by Barrio Restaurant. We've celebrated Oktoberfest with German games, beer tasting, music and food under the tent. This fall Don Shelby presents his popular one man show as Mark Twain on the Centennial Showboat then joins us in character on the Anson Northrop for a tour of the Mississippi River.

Contact: Liz Boyd or Ann McKinnon, 651-222-3242, liz@thefriends.orq or ann@thefriends.orq

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