Friends of the Library annual meeting draws record crowd

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Friends of the Library President Ann Richardson greets a record attendance at the group’s annual meeting on Nov. 7 at the Berryville Public Library.
Submitted photo

A record audience was on hand Thursday, Nov. 7, evening for the Friends of the Library Annual meeting in Berryville.

Friends of the Library President Ann Richardson welcomed everyone and shared that the main focus of the Friends of the Library is to support the Berryville Public Library and to help raise funds to build a new library on property that was donated earlier this year by the City of Berryville.  The Berryville Public Library has sorely outgrown its space and is in desperate need of expanding to serve the growing population and needs of this area.

Berryville Mayor Tim McKinney recently signed a proclamation, proclaiming October 20-26 National Friends of the Library week. The Friends were busy throughout the entire month hosting bake sales, membership drives, and promoting sales of three raffle items. On Monday, Nov. 18, the Friends will be raffling off a handmade quilt, and on Dec. 13 during the annual cookie and candy sale , a hand-carved wooden child’s desk and chair along with a handmade Butch Hanby knife. Tickets are on sale at the Berryville Library or from any Friends of the Library member at $5 per ticket or 5 tickets for $20. Richardson asked that the Friends of the Library help promote the sale of tickets for these quality items.

Richardson also announced that the Friends of the Library will commit $10,000 annually toward the new library building project in honor of longtime library director and Friends of the Library member Carol Ann Stubbs Engskov. 

“The Friends of the Library need to be on the forefront of raising needed funds if we expect others in the community to get behind this effort,” Richardson said.

Richardson issued a challenge to other civic organizations, corporations, church groups, etc.  to follow their lead and commit to making annual donations to the campaign until all the needed funds are raised.

Library director Julie Hall then spoke to the group about the many programs offered monthly and the wonderful partnerships that have been established, drawing attention to the partnership with the school which implemented a Bobcat Book Bus to bring kids to the library twice weekly over the summer to participate in the Summer Reading program.

Hall also mentioned other partnerships with the Learning Center, area daycare facilities and the Community Center to offer safe and fun activities that engage children, young adults, and adults of all ages in reading, learning and expanding their knowledge.

Hall asked everyone to look  around the library at how cramped the current facilities are and asked for support as in raising the needed funding to build a new library. She then introduced Joe Scott, who serves on the seven-member Berryville Library advisory board and also chairs the new library Building Committee that reports to the board. 

Scott explained the role of the building committee and said it is composed of himself, Paul Engskov who represents the Friends of the Library, and community member James Sanders, who brings much expertise to the committee given his role over the years at Carroll Electric Cooperative. The building committee is in process of evaluating interested architectural firms and will be making a recommendation to the library advisory board.

Richardson then introduced Tyler Squires, who is also a member of the advisory board, and who is also serving as chair of the library fundraising committee.  Squires said their goal is to  focus on what is needed to raise enough funds to build a new library and to make recommendations to the board on these fundraising opportunities. He said it is important to note that the current county tax support can only be used for operations and programs of the library and cannot be used for building a new facility. 

Squires explained the importance that individual, civic, and corporate donations will play in the overall success of the campaign. 

“We can’t begin the project until all the funds are raised and that is why the Friends of the Library and others in the community will be key to making this project a reality,” Squires added.

Hall and public relations coordinator Kristy Noble both serve on both of these specially formed committees.  

Lacy Youngblood, Friends of the Library treasurer, announced the Friends have 129 paid members, which has grown from 50 their first year.  They recruited and renewed 39 new members during their membership drive last month.  Youngblood encouraged members to participate in the raffle drawings and to help promote the sale of raffle tickets. Richardson passed around a sign-up list asking for volunteers to bake, make crafts and perform various other volunteer duties in support of the library.  

The Friends of the Library meet at 6 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month at library, located at 104 Spring St. in Berryville.  For more information call 870-423-2323.

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