2001 Barbara Kingsolver Award Winner
Crested Butte (CO) Friends of the Library
Crested Butte Friends of the Library received the 2001 FOLUSA/HarperCollins Publishers Award in Honor of Barbara Kingsolver at the annual Author & Award event in New Orleans at the ALA Midwinter conference in January, 2002. Present to receive the award were Susan Napier and Mary Swanwick.
The Crested Butte Friends support the Old Rock Community Library in Crested Butte, a rural community in the Rocky Mountains. When the Friends group was established, in 1998, the library's book budget was only $4,000. Although Crested Butte has a year-round population of only 2,500, the Friends were able to raise more than $15,000 in their first year -- from individuals, corporations, and carefully crafted grant requests.
In subsequent years, the Friends have continued to improve the book collections, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, and the computer equipment both in the Old Rock Community Library and in the Crested Butte Community School Library. In addition to tried-and-true book sales and a paperback exchange, the group created programs worthy of being borrowed by other Friends groups. By initiating a scholarship program for high school seniors, the Friends have involved families and young people in their activities. By scouring the community and the nation for speakers, they have been able to provide programs so popular that the series has several times moved to larger quarters.
The group also hosts its own summer weekly radio show, The Gunnison Valley Writer's Digest, through which they have discovered and encouraged local authors who were previously unrecognized.
Their plans for the summer of 2002 include a day-long celebration, Readers in the Rockies. According to Kingsolver Award Chair Martin Covert, "Most importantly, this small group of Friends has shown the rest of the country how making community outreach a number-one priority leads to immediate success in raising money and the eventual unwavering support every library needs."