By Dawn M Chiossi
Every book lover knows that libraries are magical places, their reach touches so many. In a library, everyone is welcome: The only thing that is needed is a library card and an unquenchable desire for learning. Not only can patrons pick up their much-anticipated reads, they can enjoy all sorts of wonderful offerings: From media, to programs and fundraisers, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Oftentimes, these offerings are the result of the devoted efforts from a Friends Of The Library Group. These non-profit organizations work in conjunction with their respective libraries enhancing and supporting them– both financially and through public awareness– making sure their library remains a vital part of the community.
Through their desire to help, and their passion for literacy, the efforts of a Friends Group can make huge and lasting differences to both libraries and their patrons.
Additionally for a library, having a Friends Group can literally make the difference between a budget increase and a cut.
The Little Falls Public Library is ecstatic to announce they are now hosting a brand new Friends Of the Library Group: Their first meeting was recently held on October 30th.
“This group is much anticipated,” prides Little Falls Public Library Director, Christine Pelchat-Miller. “ It came about as an enthusiastic response to the many library patrons who requested it. Having heard about Friends’ Groups at other libraries, these patrons inquired about having their own.”
Meetings are slated to be held once a month and all are welcome!
Membership runs from January 1st to December 31st.
Founded in 1916, the Little Falls Public Library was established with a mission to provide resources and services that encourage literacy and enrich the community by opening doors to the lifelong enjoyment of learning.
But in all of that time, the idea of Friends of the Library Group eluded them: until recently, that was.
“From the documents we have on file, a Friends Of The Library Group did exist in the 1980’s,” explains Pelchat-Miller. “But it seems as though the group dissolved before it could be officially organized as a non-profit.” (the current Friends Group has achieved non-profit status already, so there is no need to worry) “With this new group, we anticipate a wonderful relationship with the library.”
The “Friends,” as they like to be called, eagerly embraced their first meeting.
Knowing they could do so much good for the Little Falls community and the library itself, the group was formed with the idea in mind to promote the use of the library by all, increase community awareness of their resources and services, and encourage others to donate to the library via fundraisers or other memorial gifts and bequests.
Proceeds from the Friends’ fundraisers will be donated to the library to help purchase equipment, supplies, and to provide children and adult programs to the library that are beyond the reach of the existing budget.
That means ultimately that they can offer something for every taste, every passion.
Kristie Puffin, President of the Little Falls Friends of the Library Group, is extremely eager to begin. “Our goal is to support the library in providing services to the public. These goals can be as diverse as children’s summer programs to updated technology,” she tells.
Going beyond simply learning what a Friends Group was all about, members seized the opportunity to brainstorm ideas, express their enthusiasm and creativity for the things wanted to see at Little Falls library.
“It was an excellent turnout for our first meeting,” enthuses Friend’s Secretary, Karen Lichtenberg, “Of the ten people attending, three of them volunteered to be chairpersons—Fundraising, Membership and Communications.”
“We hope that as our group becomes better established we can attract more interest in future meetings.”Puffin adds.
Impressively, “The Friends” have already got the ball rolling with their first holiday fundraiser entitled “Make a Book Art Christmas Tree,” recently held on Saturday, November 17th at the library. With this fundraiser, people made charming trees out of discarded books, jump starting their holiday spirit with this delightful form of origami art. Pages in the books were identically folded, and then painted in green or gold glitter or both (if patrons didn’t choose to leave their trees bare, that was)! And then they were adorned with sparkling mini-garland, or bows of red and green with a traditional star on top.
A great time was had by all.
And there are plenty more ideas on the horizon for the Little Falls Library from “The Friends”. Suggestions ranged from book drives, author talks, bus trips, wine tastings, wing sponsorships, raffles and art projects and much more. Even a possible mini golf event!
While most everyone is looking forward to all of the events, Lichtenberg is looking forward to one in particular. “I am very excited about having a wine and cheese night,” she enthuses.
“I am thrilled about the interest that residents have shown in starting a Friends Group,” shares Pelchat-Miller. “I know that there are many creative and energetic people in town who want to be part of it and I expect that the Friends will be planning great events and activities for all to attend and enjoy.”
And Puffin agrees, having high hopes for the brand new Little Falls Friends of the Library Group. Keeping in mind how the library can span the generations, she strives to make Little Falls Library an inclusive place for all. “Libraries are more popular than ever, from people of my generation to Millennials: Friends Groups are a big part of that.”
Sound intriguing? For further information, details, or to become a member, just visit the library’s website at www.littlefallslibrary.org