October 20-26 is National Friends of Libraries Week. The Friends of the Library is a 501(c)(3) organization made up entirely of volunteers. Its goal is to support libraries and help pay for items or services that fall outside of the library’s budget. Friends of the Library is one large organization, but each branch of the Botetourt County Libraries has its own chapter. Want to help your local library? We’d love for you to join the Friends!
The Friends of the Library have several different methods of raising money. Each chapter has at least one book sale a year, plus a book sale area that is stocked year-round with items available for purchase. Other fundraising events include craft fairs, bake sales, bingo games, plant sales, yard sales, and raffles. Money earned from the coffee areas and from candy and snack sales at each branch also goes to the Friends to benefit the libraries in various ways. If you have a fundraising idea, we’d love to hear it!
The Friends of the Library have made significant contributions to the Botetourt County Libraries. At the Blue Ridge branch, the purchase of a DVD cleaning machine has helped to get rid of those annoying skips. Money raised by the Buchanan chapter of the Friends has been used to renovate space for the children’s reading room, where parents can relax while children play and read. The Eagle Rock chapter of the Friends purchased iPads and an Xbox One to keep children and teens entertained, and a new garden area provides a place for children to participate in hands-on agriculture activities. The Fincastle chapter of the Friends has recently purchased STEM materials, such as Micro:bit kits to help children learn coding. They also purchased new tables for the library’s meeting room.
How can you help? Having an active and energetic group of supporters strengthens the bond between the library and the community. Volunteers perform tasks such as setting up for fundraising events and taking down afterward, acting as cashier during book sales, donating homemade goodies for bake sales, and assisting with library programs. Even just paying membership dues goes a long way! If you don’t want to join the Friends of the Library, you can still help by attending fundraisers or by making donations to the Friends. Monetary donations are always appreciated, but the library also accepts donations of books, DVDs, music CDs, and puzzles.
The Friends of the Library meet on the following days:
- Blue Ridge Chapter – first Thursday of each month at 1 p.m.
- Buchanan Chapter – first Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m.
- Eagle Rock Chapter – second Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m.
- Fincastle Chapter – once monthly, but day varies. Please call 540-928-2700 for more information.
If you’re interested in joining the Friends of the Library, stop by any branch of the Botetourt County Libraries and fill out a membership application. Membership fees vary by chapter, but all yearly dues and contributions to the Friends of the Library are tax deductible. We hope to see you at the next Friends meeting – or at least a book sale!