Monday, September 28, 2009

Friends Sharing with Friends 2009

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and the Massachusetts Friends of Libraries held their annual Friends of Libraries sharing session at the Marriott Hotel at Devens on Saturday Sept. 26. Commissioners Vicki Kaufman and Francis Murphy were there, and Commissioner Kaufman donated in support of the upcoming Book It to the Library Road Race which the Friends of WMRLS group is sponsoring this coming Saturday ---thank you Commissioner!

Commissioner Murphy greeted all participants and spoke of the dire budget scenario projected for next year. He reminded everyone to send their comments to Rob Maier and the Commissioners regarding how to handle the projected 16% cut in next year's MBLC budget. The time is now to weigh in, so send your emails to or attend the special budget hearing to be held at the Boxborough Library this Thursday, October 1. The future of regional library systems like WMRLS could depend on it.

The Friends of the Wilmington Memorial Library spoke about several fundraising efforts that have really been successful. Their Book Store Next Door is an ongoing library book sale with regular hours each week, run by volunteers. They also have many successful partnerships with businesses and restaurants under the category Bon Appetit, events which bring in funds to help the library, don't require much time to organize, and appeal to everyone's desire to eat out locally!

The Topsfield Public Library, with a town population of about 6400, celebrated its 10th library building anniversary and the 40th anniversary of the Friends of the Library. Library Director Jaclyn White described how they held two lovely local celebrations that honored the library and the Friends but was sensitive to the tight budget times. Over 350 people enjoyed the day at a cost of less than $1.00 a person!

The Worcester Public Library is "Celebrating 150 Years" and has colorful banners all over the city to prove it! Library events, grants, in-kind donations are all being used to make the anniversary year very special, and a major event to which the Friends of the Worcester Public Library is contributing.

The final program of the day was called Creating a Successful Region-wide Friends Group, and to my surprise it came from the WMRLS area. A representative from each of the Friends groups for the Agawam Public Library, the Chicopee Public Library and the Palmer Public Library talked about the one-year-old Pioneer Valley Friends of the Library organization which invites Friends of any library within a 15 mile radius of Springfield to get together to trade information and discuss common problems and solutions. Marcia Capuano of the Agawam Friends and Carolyn Fitzgerald of the Chicopee Library Friends are instrumental to this group but the monthly meetings are hosted at different libraries and run by the host libraries, after a library tour. Barbara Benedetti of the Palmer Friends group spoke of their hugely successful May Basket Raffle to benefit Top Floor Learning which is housed at the Palmer Library; the annual raffle raises as much as $9000.

Thank you to Maureen Killoran and Brian Donoghue of the MBLC and to Alice Welch, President of the Massachusetts Friends of Libraries for putting together a great day of information and inspiration for Friends of Libraries all across Massachusetts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was an excellent meeting bringing together friends, trustees and MBLC commissioners and staff. I think everyone brought home at least a few new ideas or more.

A Friend and Trustee

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