Congratulations to the Friends of Maxwell Memorial Library (Camillus, N.Y.) and the Friends of the Lewis County Public Library (Hohenwald, Tenn.)! These two groups are winners of United for Libraries’ National Friends of Libraries Week Awards for 2021. Each group receives $250 and will be recognized at United Virtual: Trustees – Friends – Foundations in August.
For National Friends of Libraries Week (Oct. 17-21, 2021), Friends of Maxwell Memorial Library hosted several community events, bringing back the popular monthly art exhibits in the library’s public community room (which had been vacant since the pandemic began) with an exhibit by local artist Katie Deakin. The Friends also worked with the Junior Friends of Maxwell group (for ages 8-12) to present activities during the week, including a family-friendly Halloween event (“Mischief at Maxwell” with pumpkin decorating and costumes) and a fall bulb sale. Junior Friends of Maxwell formed during the pandemic, with all members welcome to join and participate in Friends’ activities, as well as their own book chats and STEAM related programs. It has met an important need for tweens to be able to socialize and participate in community engagement.
Friends of the Lewis County Public Library highlighted National Friends of Libraries Week as an opportunity to raise awareness about an important construction project planned for Lewis County Public Library and Archives. A theme was created for each day representing typical Friends activities – advocating for the library (Legislative Appreciation Day), hosting educational & entertaining programs (Musical Storytelling for Grownups Day; FRIENDS & Family Day), providing hospitality for events (Love Our Library Day), and fundraising (Pamper Yourself Day). In addition to the daily themes, the full week focused on promoting the planned renovation/construction project for the current library facility, with opportunities for patrons to donate. A highlight was “Legislative Appreciation Day,” in which city council members, county commissioners, school board members, and the city and county mayors were given a library tour and invited to a luncheon to raise support for construction funding. Many new faces were seen at the library that day, and decision makers in the county gained a greater understanding of the needs for library renovation and expansion. From individual and business donations, as well as specific fundraising activities during the week, Friends of the Library collected almost $2,000. The following week, representatives from the Lewis County High School Class of 1961 presented a check to Friends of the Library for $1,001 as a result of class members participating in and being inspired by the week’s events. Their intention is to challenge other graduating classes to meet or exceed that donation level to show their support for the library.
The next National Friends of Libraries Week will be held Oct. 16-22, 2022. For more information, visit www.ala.org/united/events_conferences/folweek.