2017 National Friends of Libraries Week Award Winners

Summaries of the activities that qualified the Friends of the Library of Rutherford and Friends of the San Juan Island Library for the 2017 National Friends of Libraries Week Award.

Friends of the Library of Rutherford (N.J.)

Our mayor issued a proclamation recognizing the Friends’ role in the community (below). This year was the first time that the Friends of the Library of Rutherford (N.J.) participated in the National Friends of Libraries Week celebration. We were eager to promote our Friends group in the community. An event on Oct. 14 provided a “kick-off” for the week. We hosted a Pet Photo Contest, where 98 photographs of beloved dogs or cats were entered to win prizes. Our Friends of the Library Week banner (see photos) was displayed prominently, and community members who came to participate in the event were introduced to the Friends.

In addition to the banner in the library, we set up a table near the entrance with a tri-fold to summarize the different ways our Friends serve the library and community. We invited membership, and offered a free candy bar to those who joined. There were also signs placed strategically around the main floor of the library listing the specific programs we support. Table tents directed patrons to the signs.

Our mayor issued a proclamation recognizing the vital role the Friends play in our community. We displayed this framed proclamation at the circulation desk. The library staff used the Constant Contact newsletter to announce the National Friends of Libraries Week activities. We also sent a press release to the local papers, and our library director sent a letter to the editor.

We prepared bookmarks with our logo, and the library staff gave them out at the circulation desk. Since we fund all the children’s department programs, the children’s librarian invited us to set up our membership table at the Guitar Bob musical event for toddlers and preschoolers. The librarian introduced us and reminded the parents and caregivers that we paid for this program as well as all the other free programs their children enjoy.

We participated in the Woman’s Club of Rutherford’s event, Pumpkin People in the Park, which ran from Oct.14–28. Our board members (along with various other local organizations) set up a pumpkin display in Lincoln Park in the center of town. In addition to providing PR for the Friends, we used our display to advertise our fall Book Sale which began on Oct. 27. The sign board in front of our Borough Hall announced Friends of Libraries Week and advertised our event, the showing of the Screenagers movie on Wednesday night.

Screenagers is a documentary produced by a medical doctor who was concerned about the amount of time her own teens were spending on electronic devices. Because the cost of a screen license to show the film was quite high ($650), our library director suggested we invite the local PTAs to share in sponsorship. They agreed and the PTA at each of the six schools in town sent $50 toward the cost. Each PTA also promoted the event in their electronic newsletters and at Back-to-School Night activities.he FOL received the Grand Prize of $1,000 from MultiMedia Solutions for a social media campaign at the Boiling Springs Savings Bank’s dinner for its Community Alliance Program (CAP), which helps to raise money for local nonprofits.

The event was a success. The movie was attended by 75 community members, including some teenagers. A Rutherford resident and adjunct professor at Montclair State University, Jennifer Katafigiotis, offered to moderate a discussion after the film. She has done research on the effect of screen time on young people and has led discussions at other screenings of the movie. Both adults and teens participated in the discussion after the film. We also purchased table games suitable for families and gave them away as door prizes. A list of family activity suggestions was provided to attendees.

To show our appreciation to the library staff for their help and support through the year, we purchased a catered lunch for them on the Wednesday of Friends of Libraries Week. The staff was very appreciative, and several stated that they should be doing something for us to thank us for our support!

One other unexpected recognition of our Friends group occurred at a dinner provided by Boiling Springs Savings Bank. The bank sponsors a Community Alliance Program (CAP) for non-profit organizations, and makes a

quarterly donation to members based on the account balances of patrons who select a non-profit organization. At their annual CAP dinner attended by several hundred people (representing the 425 nonprofits that participate

in the program), prizes were awarded to four of the nonprofits attending the event. The Friends of the Library of Rutherford was selected to receive the Grand Prize: $1,000 from MultiMedia Solutions for a social media campaign.

Our Friends board felt the participation in National Friends of Libraries Week was a success in educating the community about our work and generating interest in our mission. We hope to participate every year.

Friends of the San Juan Island Library

Our National Friends of Libraries Week celebration actually began on Oct. 1, as we had use of the library glass enclosed display cabinet for the month of October. The display’s theme was “Our Library is the Heart of the Island” and included an array of Friends activities, achievements and participants along with a Friends membership list. It was a tasteful display just inside the entrance and many stopped to look.

Since National Friends of Libraries Week kicked off our 2018 membership drive, we set up a membership table in the library salon that encouraged new and renewal memberships. For the past few years we have offered an incentive to renew early and those who take advantage of this get their names put into a draw. This year we offered $100 gift certificate to a local book store and a t-shirt from our gift shop. The drawing took place at our Holiday Sale in December. Another focal point of the table asked our library patrons to complete a card “We Love Our Library Because...” This was a very popular event that ran the entire week and the completed cards were pinned on poster board for all to read. One of our favorite cards was completed by an adult volunteer and stated, “I love the library so much that I volunteer!” One grade school class that frequents the library every Monday morning brought in cards from each student. We ended the week with about 75 responses.

Promotion for our week took many forms. Besides the normal flyers and banner we hang up around town, we used our website, the library’s website, Facebook, a rolling electronic banner in our library, handbills, a display cabinet, an article titled “Celebrate Friends of Library Week” in our local paper and local online papers and word-of-mouth. Our efforts were acknowledged with good attendance at our events, appreciation from library staff and Trustees and membership renewals in our post box.

The week’s calendar shows the scope of our activities and events and include:

Oct. 15 - Our NFOL Week banner was hung outside. We had our first Book Swap from 2 to 4 p.m. that was attended by happy participants who swapped books, played library games, earned a prize or two, got to know one another and had refreshments. We began our 2018 Membership Drive.

Oct. 16 - We gave each member of the library staff a card of thanks and an invitation to lunch. The staff has been very supportive of our Friends group and is a wealth of information that they are ready and willing to share.

Oct.17 - The Friends provided a work-day soup an salad lunch for the staff that they could grab and take back to their desks. This was much appreciated as it was a busy day in the library.

Oct. 18 - A wonderful evening event was hosted by the Friends and titled “A Gentle Madness — Collecting Old & Rare Books.” The presenter talked about becoming a collector and brought part of their collection for viewing. This was well attended and included wine, cheese, and chocolates. Our membership table was very active that evening.

Oct. 19 - We honored our Trustees. They work so hard behind the scenes and deserved to know how much we appreciate their efforts. At their regular monthly meeting they received a “thank you” card and a small box of chocolates from the Friends.

Oct. 20 - We handed out temporary tattoos to our young patrons that said “READ.” They had fun with these and from the cards that they pinned to the poster board, we learned just how much they love the library — as “a quiet and peaceful place” and a place of “adventure and learning in books.”

Oct. 21 - It was “Sale” day at the Friends’ library kiosk called Treasure Cove. Books, jewelry, fall treasures, and a sale table was featured.

Whew — the banner came down for another year and on Oct. 31 the display cabinet and member table were cleared. During the week we had a lot of interaction with the folks that help make our Friends group such a success and rewarding effort. We have enclosed a selection of our promotional material and announcements that demonstrate the kind of events we offered our Community during NFOL Week 2017 and the ways the Friends of the San Juan Island Library encourage our patrons to support our efforts and the efforts of our library.