2014 National Friends of Libraries Week Award Winners

Friends of A.K. Smiley Public Library (Redlands, Calif.)

Friends of the A.K. Smiley Public Library held a Western-themed kickoff party for National Friends of Libraries Week, billed as the “Friends Roundup.” The event was free and open to the public and included author presentations, live bluegrass music, family friendly activities, tabletop displays, giveaways, and refreshments.

National Friends of Libraries Week coincided with the completion of the group’s 2014 focus on rebranding and updating Friends marketing materials. Included in the project were a newly designed logo and brochures, new tote bags, and updated rate schedule for membership levels and fees, and a social media campaign (including a new website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and the introduction of eBay sales of antique and collectible books).

The “Friends Roundup” was marketed to members, families, educators, and students. Invitations were sent to the pre-K-12 educators in the community, and local newspapers published information about the event. Using Eventbrite, the Friends sent more than 3800 email invitations. A board member was interviewed on a local country radio station, and the interview aired several times during October.

The Friends Marketing Commit­tee worked for months ahead to plan and publicize the event, and to acquire donated giveaways and create Western-themed décor. More than a dozen member volunteers worked as greeters, setup and cleanup crew, and hospitality staff. Authors Diane Adams, Eric Pier­point, and J.R. Sanders gave presentations and signed copies of their books. Books were sold by Barnes & Noble, which donated 10% of purchases to the Friends.

For the group’s first-ever celebration of National Friends of Libraries Week, the Friends received extraordinary publicity and had an excellent turnout from the community. Taking the opportunity to roll out their new publicity materials during the week helped result in increased membership and great visibility in the community.

Friends of the Logan County (Ky.) Library

Friends of the Logan County Library showed their apprecia­tion for the library and the commu­nity’s support by celebrating National Friends of Libraries Week all week.

The week began with Friends of the Library President Suzie Doer and the children’s librarian, Carole Ann Faulkner, talking about National Friends of Libraries Week on local radio station WRUS on Monday morn­ing. Popular radio host Don Neagle hosted the two on his daily morning Feedback program. They discussed the week’s upcoming events at the library and promoted interest and excitement for the activities that were to take place during the week.

Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton and Logan County Judge Executive Lo­gan Chick issued proclamations declar­ing October 19-25, 2014, as Friends of Libraries Week in Russellville and Logan County during the monthly city council and fiscal court meetings. Those proclamations were framed and displayed at the circulation desk in the library.

The News Democrat & Leader, the local newspaper, included National Friends of Libraries Week events and activities in the community events sec­tion. Managing Editor Chris Cooper visited the library during Friends of the Library Week and interviewed Friends and staff members. The result was a positive news article and photographs highlighting the organization and the celebration of the Friends week.

Library patrons knew it was Na­tional Friends of Libraries week as soon as they entered the library. A sign announcing the special week and how to sign up as a Friend of the Library greeted them just inside the door. Ad­ditionally, a bright and eye-catching bulletin board in the lobby was created that featured photographs from many of the events that Friends held, helped sponsor, or provided volunteers for this year. They Friends also sponsored a basket giveaway during the week.

Fridays are a big day at the li­brary and the Friday during Friends of Libraries Week was no exception. Some Friends volunteers attended both sessions for story time that day and helped read stories to the children. Then they went outside on the patio and everyone decorated pumpkins for Halloween. Afterwards, Friends volun­teers handed out balloons that featured the library name and logo. This was one of many activities for children the Friend sponsored during the week.

The library’s staff was not forgot­ten during National Friends of Librar­ies Week. Friends brought baked goods as a token of their gratitude for all that the staff does for the library.

All of this hard work resulted in a 10% increase in memberships for the Friends. The staff and the Friends of the Library were excited about the week and the enthusiasm carried over to the patrons. Patron participation ex­ceeded expectations, and the group is already planning for the next National Friends of Libraries Week.

Honorable Mentions:

Friends of Fondulac Library (East Peoria, Ill.)

Friends of Fondulac Library were excited to celebrate the 2014 National Friends of Libraries Week in a brand new, 32,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility. Public Services Manager Genna Buhr designed several promotional materials to high­light the week’s festivities. Handouts and posters were placed throughout the library prior to the week’s kick-off on Oct. 19, and the week was promoted via the library’s “upcoming events” television screen and the library news­letter, mailed to all houses in East Peo­ria. The week was also promoted in the East Peoria Times-Courier.

The Friends recruited new mem­bers on Sunday by staffing tables in the library. The Friends teamed with a new local restaurant, Noodles and Company, to sell vouchers for the restaurant’s pre-opening celebration. All proceeds from the sale went the Friends — $550. The Friends also sold Book Lover’s Calendars for $7, mak­ing a profit of $120. The Friends also held a coloring/art contest for youth. On Monday morning, the library staff, patrons, and the mayor of East Peoria were treated to a beautiful book cake provided by the Friends. Friends Presi­dent Vicki Lambrich and Treasurer Dolores Eads presented library direc­tor Amy Falasz-Peterson with a check for $1,000 to begin a new project that will benefit the library and community. The Friends declared Wednesday “Pie Day,” and the staff of the library was treated to pumpkin and apple pies with whipped cream.

Friends of Chelsea (Mich.) District Library

The Friends of the Chelsea District Library celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2014, and wanted to use National Friends of Libraries Week to promote membership. The group succeeded, gaining 22 new members. During the week the Friends appeared on a local radio show with Chelsea Chamber Director Bob Pierce, where they pro­moted the week. The group also hosted a Chelsea Chamber of Commerce event at the library to promote the member­ship drive and National Friends of Libraries Week. More than 50 people attended, and received complimentary books. During the membership drive, the Friends held a drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite for those signing up for membership. The Friends also teamed with the Chelsea Wellness Center to offer complimentary chair massages to patrons. (Massage Awareness Week is the same week as National Friends of Libraries Week!)