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The Friends of the Library is a group of people who pay to become a member of the library's advocacy group. The group is in charge of raising money for the public library in order to build its collection and have money to present library programs and events. Each group features a president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and other members. The individuals work as a unit to act as advocates for the library. Membership dues, donations, and fundraising permit the group to support a diverse group of library programs.
Serving as a spokesman of a sort, many Friends of the Library groups let government officials and the local community know about issues that affect the library. One of their main goals is to help the community to see that the library exists to serve the public. Members of the nonprofit group serve as library volunteers during programs and event. They may assist with storytimes, author appearances, summer reading programs, and other events at the library. The Friends of the Library is often approached by library staff whenever funds are needed to purchase library materials or pay for the appearance of a performer or author.
The Friends of the Library is also responsible for running the library book sale. Most libraries hold annual book sales in order to raise money. The books sold at the sale are either withdrawn library books or donated books that the library is unable to add to the collection. The Friends are the ones who are in charge of sorting books, pricing them, promoting the book sale, and selling the books to the public. The group may also be in charge of running a year-round bookstore within the library where patrons can purchase withdrawn library books or books donated by the public.
Some Friends of the Library group may publish a newsletter so that the community stays aware of the activities that take place within the local public library system. They may be in charge of writing articles concerning past or future library events. The newsletter serves as a public relations tool so that government officials and interested members of the community can understand the important role that the library plays within the city.
If someone wishes to join the Friends of the Library, she usually needs to fill out an application and submit membership dues. Becoming a member often allows the person access to behind-the-scenes activities at the library. It may even allow the person to receive free membership to the local museum or other incentives.
The Friends of the Library chapters are true believers in the library system and the importance of reading. Every time I attend a Friends of the Library book sale, I wish I were a member so I could have access to all of those donated books before they go on the shelves.
I once bought a huge collection of nostalgia-based magazines for just 4 dollars and then donated them to a local nursing home. The residents really enjoyed them, because the issues always feature articles and picture from the "good old days".
I never would have found them if a Friends of the Library volunteer hadn't told me about them after they had been donated.
Every so often I will donate books and magazines to our local Friends of the Library chapter, and they'll resell them for maybe a dime or a quarter. The Friends of the Library have their own room at the public library, and sometimes they'll arrange for authors to read their work or other artists to put on showings of their visual art. About twice a year the chapter will have a big book sale and slash prices even more.
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