ALTAFF and Baker & Taylor recognize five outstanding Friends groups

Contact: Beth Nawalinski

Director of Marketing & Communications



For Immediate Release

July 21, 2009

PHILADELPHIA –Â Five Friends of the Library groups were recognized by the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF) and Baker & Taylor during the ALTAFF Gala Author Tea held recently during the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago. Each group received a $1,000 check and an engraved plaque to honor their achievements.

The five Friends groups include Friends of the Florence County Library (Florence, S.C.), Friends of the San Benito County Free Library (Hollister, Calif.), Friends of the Orangevale Library (Orangevale, Calif.), Friends of the Cedar Rapids Public Library (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), and Friends of Henderson Libraries (Henderson, Nev.).

Friends of the Florence County Library teamed up with famed Southern cookbook authors Matt and Ted Lee to host a “Guess What Friend is Coming to Dinner” fundraiser. This event, which was held with support from Barnes & Noble and the library’s biggest corporate donor, Piggly Wiggly, included a wine tasting, a booksigning with Matt and Ted Lee and dinners hosted by Friends at their homes. Community partnerships, creative marketing and the volunteer efforts of many Friends helped make the event a success.

In 2008, the San Benito County Board of Supervisors approved a request for the library to receive $210,000 for a bookmobile, which was much needed in the county but had been previously discontinued because of budget cuts. However, the funding would not cover the cost of purchasing a collection. The Friends began a “Stock the Bookmobile” campaign to raise $100,000. Their tireless and creative efforts included a commercial mailing, monthly e-newsletters, local publicity, a Penny Drive, an “Eat to Read” partnership with local restaurants and a Halloween Mystery Party fundraiser, which put the Friends over the top of their fundraising goal.

Throughout 2008, Friends of the Orangevale Library had what they called “six gold nuggets” – carefully planned and executed efforts that helped to raise funds for the ultimate goal of a new Orangevale Library. These efforts included teaming up with a local utility company to mail flyers for their “Bodacious Book Sale,” advocating for expanded space in the library’s rented facility, creating a boutique to entice new Friends members to join, landing a grant from a newly-opened Wal-Mart, hosting local authors at a “Breakfast and Books” fundraiser” and partnering with local clubs and schools for outreach efforts. Their creativity and determination helped to raise thousands for the Orangevale Public Library.

After the Cedar Rapids Public Library was destroyed in the flood of June 2008, the Friends of the Cedar Rapids Public Library wondered how it was even possible to continue as a supporting organization. After conducting a project damage summary and writing grants totaling more than $10,000, the Friends had its biggest outreach program, Babies and Books, up and running in less than two months. Through the work of many Friends members and in-kind donations, the Friends held their annual book sale in a rented facility, and made profits of more than $46,000, much of which went toward furniture and lighting fixtures for the library’s temporary facility, which opened in February. The Friends of the Cedar Rapids Public Library formed new partnerships and responded during the library’s darkest hour.

Building on past successes, the Friends of Henderson Libraries made year five of their annual Library Tree Lane fundraiser the “Fabulous 5th.” This multi-faceted annual three-week event raises funds for the preschool collection of a new branch of the Henderson Library and in 2008 included a Holiday Chat with bestselling author Robyn Carr, a “winter wonderland” display, a gala and silent auction and several family events. The Friends put forth three “keys to success” – collaboration, diversity and excellence – and with careful planning, community partnerships, and a commitment to the library, the fifth Library Tree Lane Fundraiser raised $20,000.

The ALTAFF/Baker & Taylor Awards recognize Friends groups for outstanding efforts to support their library. Awards are given for a specific project culminating in the year prior to application, or based on the full scope of the group’s activities during that year. Applications are judged on the following:

  • Planning: Friends, library and community involvement, use of resources, appropriateness of the activity and measurable goals and objectives.
  • Implementation: Use of resources, public relations, task monitoring and broad membership involvement.
  • Evaluation: Assessment of activity or program, measurable results.
  • Innovation: New idea or implementation, creative involvement of people, fresh use of public relations.
  • Community Involvement: Broad support by the community in planning and implementation.

ALTAFF is a division of ALA with approximately 5,000 Friends of 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 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 Beth Nawalinski at (312) 280-2161or