2007 National Friends of Libraries Week Award Winners

Hunterdon County (NJ) Library

Public Library Friends Group with Staff

The Hunterdon County (NJ) Library celebrated National Friends of Libraries Week with a colorful display entitled “We Treasure Our Friends,” featuring a treasure chest of “gold” medallions showing many of the items and services the Friends have given to the library system. Friends of Hunterdon County Library Liaison to the library staff Karen Kilpatrick collaborated with PR Chairperson and staff artist Jim Thatch to create the display. The display featured a treasure chest, which once opened, afforded an “eye-popping experience of some of the items and services the Friends have donated recently…” Photographs of the display were sent with a press release to local newspapers and library director Mark Titus wrote a letter to the editor (“Group is a Powerhouse”) which was printed in the primary local paper. Titus stated in the press release, “They are great community partners and prove it every year, all year round - from the outstanding Book Sale event to all the wonderful contributions and services to our library which help us enhance our offerings.” The display was on view for the public during National Friends of Libraries Week and the library invited all Friends members to stop by and see the display honoring their work. The display is now housed at the North County Branch in Clinton, NJ for all to see.

Friends of the Fountain Valley (CA) Public Library

Public Library Friends Group without Staff

The Friends of the Fountain Valley (CA) Public Library worked with Adult Services of the Orange County Public Library to coordinate a workshop for the many different Friends groups who support the county's libraries. The workshop offered a chance for these groups to get to know each other and to share their ideas and experiences. Held at a local restaurant, the program featured a guest speaker followed by a Q&A session which covered everything from attracting new members to tax and financial issues. It was at this point during the program that many of the library staff in attendance got the chance to publicly express their gratitude towards their Friends. After the Q&A attendees visited display tables set up by the various Friends groups before enjoying lunch. In addition to helping to coordinate this event, the Friends held a visit by a local author in celebration of National Friends of Libraries Week. The staff of the library also set up a special display honoring the Friends. The display included Friends' scrapbooks from as far back as 15 years, which not only illustrated the Friends commitment to the library, but served as a “walk back in time” for the community. The display proved to be so popular with patrons that it has yet to be replaced. The group also used the bookmarks with quotes from FOLUSA’s website to create bookmarks. They even added ribbons to the end and a sticker on the back that read “Thanks for your support! Friends of the FV Library - 2007.”

Friends of the Marion Mohr Memorial Public Library, Johnston, RI

Public Library Friends Group without Staff

Utilizing the quotes provided by FOLUSA as a framework, the Friends of the Marion Mohr Memorial Public Library in Johnston, RI, created visual representations to invoke a strong sense of connection to the past, present, and future of libraries in our society. The quilted pattern of their display board was chosen to illustrate the passing on of knowledge, traditions, and stories which libraries have long represented throughout history. Each quote was represented as an individual square which is bordered with artwork that captures the unique spirit of the individual's insight into the role public libraries have played in shaping our world. The creative display allowed the Friends to capture the attention of library patrons in order to share the mission of the Friends: to assist in the growth, development, and promotion of the library's services, facilities, and programs. Recent fundraising efforts were highlighted including their newly designed Friends merchandise (mugs and bags). Information was provided to elicit new members and laminated bookmarks were distributed featuring the quotes with borders complementing the display board. The display board was a big hit with members, patrons, and library staff, and will be used for future Friends’ outreach activities involving school, the senior center, and town related activities.

Library Friends of Conroe (TX)

Public Library Friends Group without Staff

The Library Friends of Conroe (TX) began their celebration by coordinating a proclamation signed by a Montgomery County Judge on October 8. “Make Friends with a Good Book” was the theme of an open house held on October 25 during which the Friends donated books to the library on behalf of Boy Scout Troop 292 for their help with book sales, several library staff members for their outstanding support of the Friends, and charter Friends member Jeanette DeFee, among others. A picture of DeFee and Friends President Vicki Christopher was published in the local newspaper. A table was set up in the library during National Friends of Libraries Week with large thank you cards from the public, bookmarks, and brochures about the Friends. In addition, copies of Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy were given to the county commissioners, county judge, and mayor, thanking them for supporting the library system. These books featured a bookplate, “In recognition of National Friends of Libraries Week, please accept this book as a token of appreciation for all that you do to improve our city. The quiet strength that Coach Dungy refers to in his book is reflected in your character that makes us proud to call Montgomery County our home.”

Empire Friends (NY)

State Friends

Wow, talk about being busy! The Empire Friends (NY) caught the National Friends of Libraries Week bug early and it paid off. In their Spring 2007 newsletter, Empire Friends President Susan Swanton announced plans to support the national efforts and promote National Friends of Libraries Week in New York (previously they had coordinated a state week recognizing Friends, generally during the week following National Library Week). In May, the New York Library Association (NYLA) Legislative Committee approved NYLA support for this effort and began coordinating a statewide proclamation, which was approved on June 12 by both the New York State Senate and Assembly. In August the Empire Friends and NYLA issued a joint press release, and the Friends continued their publicity with a follow-up article in their September newsletter. Continued promotion was featured at the Friends’ booth at the NYLA conference in October. The result? Groups across the state were energized by the efforts and coordinated a wide variety of activities in their local towns and cities. Much publicity was generated in various newspapers celebrating Friends and recognizing their outstanding support of libraries. The Empire Friends plan to continue working with NYLA to ensure this becomes an annual event in the state and at county, city, and town levels to honor Friends for all the good work they do for the libraries they love and cherish.