2015 National Friends of Libraries Week Award Winners

Friends of the Escanaba (Mich.) Public Library

The Friends of the Escanaba Public Library invited the public to share in its celebration of National Friends of Libraries Week. With the support of the Escanaba Library, the Bonifas Fine Arts Center, the Daily Press and local radio stations, this Friends group was able to get their invitation out to the community.

The week before the event, the public was notified of the upcoming celebration in both the Bonifas Arts Page and the Briefs section of the Escanaba Daily Press. A local radio station also gave the president of the Friends board air time, where he was able to spread the word about all the happenings at the library for Friends of Libraries Week.

The week before Friends of Libraries Week, the library gave out coupons to its patrons, which entitled them to a free hard cover book from the Used Book Room, redeemable during Friends of Libraries Week. Each day during the week, the Friends board members manned a table full of information, membership envelopes, free gifts, book bags, and the chance to sign up for one of two Kindles to be given away. A continually running video showed the history of the group, and some of the past events that the Friends have sponsored.

Besides redeeming the coupons for a free book, patrons also enjoyed the book sale in the Used Book Room, where all hardcover books were a quarter. That room turned out to be a very busy place for the members of the Friends who volunteered their services. The children who came to the library were not forgotten. They got to enter the pumpkin decorating contest sponsored by the Friends. A family could sign up for a pumpkin, take it home, and bring it back decorated. Everyone enjoyed the fruits of those little laborers.

Ten new members joined the Friends that week, almost a 15% increase. The two lucky Kindle winners were delighted with their prizes, smiling children enjoyed the Pumpkin Contest, and the library and Friends had an enjoyable and busy week meeting and greeting old and new friends.

Friends of the Southfield (Mich.) Public Library

The Friends of the Southfield (Mich.) Public Library held its first Fall Gala in the library after closing hours on Oct. 22, during National Friends of Libraries Week. The group purchased marketing materials to bring awareness to the organization and to promote the Friends. National Friends of Libraries Week was also the week of the Friends’’ book bag sale. The Friends set up a table with their newly purchased Friends tablecloth, and talked about the Friends and invited patrons to join. Friends worked with library staff and a city employee to promote the event through press releases, mailings to elected officials and dignitaries, interviews by phone for the local newspaper, and the local cable channel. The Friends had the full support of the library staff with their help selling and purchasing tickets, and Friends offered them discounted tickets to attend the event. The staff also helped by attending meetings and offering help with graphic designs and promotions. The Friends thanked the staff with small thank-you notes and promotional gifts. All gala attendees received promotional items from the Friends and local businesses in Friends goodie bags.

The Friends annual meeting was held the day before the gala, where Friends gave away a free ticket to the gala. They also promoted National Friends of the Library Week with signage, and the board wore the group’s new Friends shirts and nametags.

The Friends moved the bookstore from the basement to the main floor and created a contest to name the new bookstore. Signs around the library promoted the bookstore contest. The Friends awarded three winners who helped name the new bookstore. They also received promotional prizes. Bookmarks were created with the new name (Friends BookShelf), and at the gala the Friends unveiled of the name with a cake.

As members of the Southfield Chamber of Commerce, the Friends were involved in their Annual Taste of Southfield, where they sold books and promoted the Friends by handing out information about the Friends, and the jazz and blues concerts at the library. Friends also gave away certificates to the concerts and discounts to the bookstore. They attended the Summer Mixer to promote the Friends and the upcoming gala.

The Friends appeared before the city council at a live meeting to discuss National Friends of Libraries Week, the Gala, the opening of the new bookstore, and joining the Friends. They later appeared before the council after the gala to thank them, and to let everyone know that it wasn’t too late to become Friends members. This was televised to all local residents with city cable.

Many board members spoke to local business owners about the Friends and what they do. As a result, local businesses donated items and gift certificates for prizes. The mistress of ceremonies, Mary Anne Meade of WRCJ, donated her time at the gala. They Friends donated to her organization, and the Friends were publicly recognized about the gala, the new bookstore, and more, on the air during their annual radio pledge drive. The radio station covers the tri-county area of Metro Detroit.

The Friends received both monetary and book donations, renewals of memberships, and new members as a result of all the events. They are still receiving press as a result of the Friends Fall Gala. Many people and patrons were excited about attending the annual meeting and the first gala. It was great advertisement for the city as well.