2008 National Friends of Libraries Week Award Winners

Friends of the Richland Correctional Institution Library (Mansfield, OH)

School Library, Media Center, or Special Library

While not exactly a school library or media center, the FOLUSA awards committee was quite impressed by the Friends of the Richland Correctional Institution Library. During the month of October, the Friends sold CiCi’s pizza to the general population at Richland Correctional facility. The sales total for this endeavor was just over $3,800, of which the Friends made $1,127 in profit, all of which will be used to purchase new books for their library. Also during October, the group conducted a membership drive that resulted in 22 new members. With an annual membership fee of $5, all membership fees fund the library’s daily operations and annual banquet.

On Tuesday, October 21, during National Friends of Libraries Week, the Friends of the Richland Correctional Institution Library held their first annual banquet celebration. Activities included certificate presentations, prize drawings of thesauruses and dictionaries, and a celebration meal of sandwiches, chips, and cake. The group’s full membership of 138 people were in attendance along with the advisory committee.

The new warden, a member of his own public library Friends group, spoke at the event saying how pleased he was to see an active Friends group at the facility. The banquet was fully funded by membership fees. News has spread fast about this active group, and several other correctional facilities in the state of Ohio have requested information and copies of the group’s bylaws in order to start a Friends group of their own.

Friends of the Venice Public Library (Venice, FL)

Public Library Friends Group with Staff

The Friends of the Venice Public Library held a variety of activities to celebrate National Friends of Libraries Week. The group had several objectives including: to highlight the history of the Friends, detail what an important role they played in the founding of the library, and show the continuing role of the group; to increase membership; and the have a week of exciting activities at the library.

The group invited the mayor to sign a proclamation officially celebrating National Friends of Libraries Week in Venice. The public was invited to the signing, and the Friends provided refreshments. The proclamation remained on display in the library’s lobby as part of the Friends history display.

To achieve the goal of highlighting the history of the Friends, the group coordinated a display in the library lobby. Through pictures, scrapbooks, and posters, the display showed the beginnings of the Friends in 1961 and how this small group of citizens accomplished the goal of establishing a public library in Venice. The different ways the Friends support the library - by purchasing materials or items for the library, volunteering in the library, and by running the Friends used bookstore - were emphasized in the display.

To show the community how the Friends support the library, each library department (Circulation, Reference, Genealogy, and Youth) were given a stack of vibrantly colored Friends of the Venice Public Library logos which they attached to items the Friends had purchased. This included everything from encyclopedias to chairs, book carts, and service desks. Since the library has undergone several expansions, the Friends also marked the floor with white tape showing each expansion and detailing how the Friends supported that addition.

In an effort to increase membership, a volunteer or Friends board member staffed a table in the library’s lobby during the week. The “greeter” welcomed patrons to the library and informed them it was National Friends of Libraries Week. This volunteer also handed out a schedule of events for the week, answered questions about the Friends, and accepted new membership forms.

The Friends also planned a full week of activities, ranging from a “Find a Friend Scavenger Hunt” to a performance of “Florida Cracker Tales” by the Venice Public Library’s Reader’s Theatre troupe. The Friends also commissioned a locally-known performer to do a dramatic portrayal of playwright and author Lillian Hellman. The Friends bookstore closed the week of activities by holding a special sale featuring quarter books, 50% off books, popcorn, punch, and balloons.

Friends of the Atkinson Public Library (Atkinson, NE)

Public Library Friends Group without Staff

To jumpstart their celebration of National Friends of Libraries Week, the Atkinson Public Library placed several articles in the newspaper and on the radio. Throughout the week the library lawn was decorated with banners of different organizations that support the Friends of the Library Foundation, Inc. Members of the Library Board assisted with the project. Banners thanked the Board of Trustees, library staff and volunteers, teachers, students, patrons, community service workers, local radio stations, community businesses, and several local organizations.

The Friends of the Atkinson Public Library are active in helping to plan and support special programs for the library throughout the year. To celebrate the week, the Friends worked with the Sturdevant McKee Museum and the Nebraska Humanities Council to welcome Humanities Speaker Matthew “Sitting Bear” Jones, a Kiowa/Otoe-Missouri Indian of Oklahoma. Mr. Jones gave a morning presentation to 65 students and 35 adults, as well as an afternoon presentation to a crowd of 85 students and 45 adults. Both programs were well received and the Friends were recognized and thanked during both for their continuing efforts to support programs at the library.

To spread the word about the group, patrons that visited the library throughout the week were given brochures on how to become a member of the Friends.

The group also completed the final stage of the Atkinson Public Library Building Project by paving the west parking lot. The new library building was built and paid for by the Friends with a grand opening in 2005. The paving of the west parking lot expanded access to the library and completed the multi-year project. Two ads were placed in the local press and thank you cards were sent to all donors as well as to local contractors that donated their time and money to help pave the lot.

Empire Friends: the Library Friends Roundtable of the New York Library Association

State Friends

In 2007, the Empire Friends were awarded the State Friends Group Award for National Friends of Libraries Week in recognition of their superior efforts to achieve the first statewide proclamation of National Friends of Libraries Week as well as the widespread promotion of the celebration to Friends groups throughout the state of New York. What more could they do? In April of 2008, the Empire Friends decided to “pay it forward” by announcing a similar state contest using FOLUSA’s 2007 award money plus a donated $50 to present three awards of $100 each to the best celebration of National Friends of Libraries Week in New York State.

On June 18, 2008, thanks to support from the Legislative Committee of the New York Library Association (NYLA) and the action of Michael Borges, NYLA director, the New York State Legislature passed Senate #6552 and Assembly #2034 declaring October 19-25, 2008, as National Friends of Libraries Week in New York.

Throughout 2008, the Empire Friends promoted National Friends of Libraries Week through their newsletter, website, and to specific groups throughout the state. FOLUSA is pleased to once again recognize the Empire Friends Roundtable for their exhaustive efforts to promote this national celebration of Friends.

Friends of the Richard Bland College Library (Petersburg, VA)

Academic Friends Group

The Friends of Richard Bland College Library had a busy and fun-filled celebration of National Friends of Libraries Week. Beginning the celebration was the presentation of the proclamation with the library staff. The Friends usually have the college president make the declarations, but this proclamation was declared by the library staff since the staff directly support and encourage the Friends.

During the week a raffle was held for a Longaberger basket. Each raffle ticket was $1.00. The raffle was very popular and generated much interest and competition since faculty as well as students wanted to win the expensive basket. All funds raised went directly to the Friends.

The second activity of the week was the Friends Fabulous Flea Market Silent Auction. The Friends collected flea market items, made the baskets, arranged the display, took pictures, and listed each item which was sent as a PDF attachment to an email to everyone on campus. This enticed bidders to stop by the flea market after viewing what was available. Emails were sent out during the week listing each item and the current bid of the day (all bidders were assigned a number).

Finally, the Friends hosted a special booksale with 50 cent hardcovers and 25 cent paperback. The booksale increased 20 fold during the week and community members as well as faculty and students participated. In all the week was a huge success with a great deal of participation and excitement among all.