The Friends of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County today received special recognition from the Ohio Library Council for their tireless and innovative efforts to support the Library. The Ohio Library Council selected the Friends of the Public Library for the 2012-2013 Ohio Friends of the Library Recognition Award.
The Ohio Friends of the Library Recognition Award honors a Friends group which performs imaginative and effective activities that increase community awareness of its library, support library programs, and promote the mission, vision, and core values of the library.
Founded in 1957, The Friends of the Public Library is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the Library make information and knowledge accessible to the communities it serves. The Friends purchase special library materials and equipment and sponsor numerous programs throughout the year. Funds are generated by memberships, book and shop sales, gifts and grants.
The Friends’ 500 volunteers increased the amount of money they were able to raise for the library by 8% during the last fiscal year through a new book sales initiative which included selling books online, opening their warehouse three days a week, and changing how branch book sales are promoted.
In recent years, the Friends adopted an innovative recycling program which reduced their expenses, increased income, and kept material out of landfills. The annual income generated from recycling nearly matches the income produced by the four branch library used book sales, generating more funds to help support Library programs.
In addition, the Friends have secured $19,000 over the last fiscal year in grants from local Foundations to provide support for Library programs such as the Summer Reading Program, Early Literacy Stations and AfterSchool Edges. The Library might not have been able to provide these services, had it not been for these much-needed funds.
The Friends also maintain their generous support to the Library through sales at the Friends’ Shop, located at the Main Library. The Friends’ Shop offers used books, videos, CDs and DVDs for sale in addition to literary themed merchandise. The Friends’ Shop is also a great resource for customers using the Library for research, since the shop carries note pads, pens, and supplies to aid in genealogy research.
Although State Library funding has substantially dropped over the last several years, our Library system has pulled through with the assistance of our Friends organization. Our Friends group very generously joined with the Ohio Library Council to share the fees for a lobbyist working with the General Assembly to maintain state funding for Ohio Libraries. The Friends of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is the only Friends organization of any Ohio Library to provide this funding. This support has been significant in helping us to maintain the services and material we provide.
The Friends also promotes the Library to its 1,800 members, keeping them informed of Library activities, exhibits and programs. As a result of these efforts, significant information is reaching a broader audience than the Library could reach alone.
“Our Library is extremely fortunate to have the dedicated, hardworking Friends group as supporters. Their efforts in continuing traditional methods of raising funds, adapting to new technologies, and promoting our services to the community has played a crucial role in our Library’s growth,” says Kim Fender, The Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director of Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
For more on the Friends of the Library, its sales, services, or to volunteer, visit their website.