John Lennon said it best: “I get by with a little help from my friends.”
Public libraries rely more and more on help from our Friends of the Library groups as budgets continue to shrink. Friends of the Library groups are nonprofit organizations of volunteers dedicated to supporting their local libraries. They advocate for support, they fundraise, and they provide helping hands for all kinds of library programs. They’re a committed group that understands the importance of a public library to a community’s well being.
The Friends of the Urbana Regional Library (FURL) formed five years ago when the library opened, and through their generous help and financial support, we’ve been able to enhance our program offerings and enrich our collection. The Friends are one of the underwriters of our popular Summer Reading Club, which encourages kids to read up a storm over the summer months.
Thanks in part to their support, we can invite children’s book characters like Curious George, magicians, science and nature shows, and other educational performers in to the library to inspire our youngest patrons.
Our library budget provides the basics, but the Friends provide those extras that allow us to buy supplies for crafts and story times, special furnishings, and outside performers. FURL raises funds largely through their periodic book sales, and their next one will occur in September.
We receive huge numbers of donations and whatever we can’t use on our library shelves, we pass along to FURL for their sale, and the proceeds benefit the library. FURL is also planning some raffles in the future, and they are investigating some other means of raising funds.
Being a volunteer organization, FURL is always happy to accept more help. If you are interested in either joining the FURL, helping with the book sale, or becoming a board member, contact me at the library (301.600.7004), and I can put you in touch with the group. I know they’d love a little help from some friends!
For more information about the library or FURL, visit us online at: http://www.fcpl.org/information/branches/urbana/friends.htm.
Editor’s Note: Amy Whitney is director of the Urbana Regional Library. She can be reached at AWhitney@FrederickCountyMD.gov or 301.600.7012.