2006 Baker & Taylor Award Winners

Small Library Award

The Friends of the Mineola Memorial Library in Mineola, Texas, have a big problem - how to foster interest in a new library for a town of 5,000 people, mostly retirees. During 2006 the Friends’ greatest push was to gather support for a new library. Land for the library was secured from a memorial endowment fund, but with no tax assistance, the group needed to raise funds and awareness in the small community. Their answer - T’s and B’s! The group began 2006 with a Valentine Tea, followed with a Rotary Club Spelling Bee, and finished the year with their main fundraising event, a Tasting Bee. In May, the Rotary Club of Mineaola hosted their annual city wide Spelling Bee with proceeds being donated to the Friends. To offer support for the event the Friends entered a team and came home with the “Gold.” The Tasting Bee was rated a “tremendous success” by the 200 attendees. Volunteers coordinated a “Country Store” with handmade items for sale in addition to the Silent Auction and “tasting” of more than 50 foods. Local merchants donated approximately 50 items for the Silent Auction and the group raised more than $4,000 towards the support of a new library. Limited by the space of the church activity center used for the Tasting Bee, the group is searching for a larger space for 2007 in hopes of increasing attendance and raising even more money. The Friends succeeded in their goal of raising awareness about the new library while raising money and having a good time!

Large Library Award

The competition was fierce in the Large Public Library category with many worthy entries, so fierce in fact that the judges awarded a tie between The Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library and the Friends of Leesburg (FL) Library! It is interesting to note that according to www.city-data.com, Minneapolis has more than 320,000 residents while Leesburg has just over 15,000 residents. Both groups have accomplished significant feats on behalf of their libraries and deserve not only the money but the national recognition for their efforts.

Read the article from the July 2007 issue of News Update about the Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library.

The Friends of Leesburg (FL) Library officially organized more than 50 years ago, but there has been a strong citizen support for a library as far back as 1892 when a library opened in a little store on Main Street. Now, almost 115 years later the City of Leesburg is building their first building specifically designed to be a library. In 2004 the Friends mobilized to raise money to increase the square footage of the proposed building. In just five months the group raised $320,000 increasing the overall building size by 2,000 square feet. At this time, just prior to the opening of the new library, the group has raised over $700,000. The Friends have also commissioned and coordinated the fundraising for two bronze sculptures including one of Annie Oakley and her dog, Dave. Annie Oakley was a frequent visitor to Leesburg, enjoying hunting trips with Dave and her husband Frank Butler. The Friends followed Annie’s motto to “aim high” throughout the project which has culminated in a life-sized bronze statue of Annie Oakley and Dave for the sculpture plaza of the library’s garden. The group commissioned a DVD about Annie’s life and distributed it to county schools as part of a fundraising campaign for the statue. The video, and Annie’s story, are now part of the school curriculum for the history of Lake County.