A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

How Did You Celebrate National Friends of the Library Week?

by on February 1, 2016

How did you celebrate National Friends of the Library Week, held October 18 through 24? I, completely unaware of the event celebrating our Friends, requested funding for a puppet show during the Annual Friends Meeting held that very same week! A blunder that our Friends President, Peter Lynch, automatically forgave because…well, that’s how Friends are and he was equally unaware of the national event.

A poll of my colleagues in the DC Metro area public libraries found that most librarians didn’t know about National Friends of the Library Week – an interesting oversight considering that this year marked the Tenth Annual Celebration, sponsored by United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association.

Happily, not all Friends were forgotten. The contributions of the Friends of the Lodi Public Library in California were celebrated with an article in the local Lodi newspaper.[1] As with most Friends of the Library across the nation, the Lodi Friends (led by co-managers Deborah Westler and Diane Freggiaro) run a busy used bookstore that raises funds for equipment, programming, and services. For example, they purchased a self-check machine for the children’s room and funded a refresh of the library’s website. Recently, however, they really burnished their advocacy chops. Not only did they film an ad to promote the library, but they also purchased ad time to show it before movies at the local stadium in order to reach a new audience.

Despite my blunder this year, how do you think the Friends of Palisades Library responded to my funding request during their special week?  A unanimous, “yes,” as they nearly always do.  I thanked them profusely because I’m grateful to them every day of the year! So what is the best way to thank Friends like these?

United for Libraries has suggestions, press kits, and $250 grants awarded to Friends of the Library groups with the best celebrations of Annual Friends of the Library Week.[2] “Applicants will be judged on creativity and innovation; involvement of Friends, library staff, Trustees, and/or advisory committee; recognition of Friends group, and promotion of Friends group to the community, school, students, and/or faculty.”[3] The 2015 application deadline was December 2, but the award is offered annually. The 2014 winners were the A. K. Smiley Library in Redlands, CA, that did a western-themed, “Friends Roundup” and the Logan County Library in KY that celebrated all week with a mayoral proclamation, a media campaign, and events all week that drove Friends membership up by 10%.

Next year, I won’t miss the opportunity to thank our Friends formally during National Friends of the Library Week. I plan to participate in the United for Libraries annual celebration and perhaps even compete for the award. I’ll need competitors, however. What are your plans to celebrate your Friends next year?


[1] Cathey, Kyla. “Recognizing the Hard Work of Friends of Lodi Public Library.” Lodi News-Sentinel: (16 October 2015). Web.

[2] United for Libraries: http://www.ala.org/united/.

[3] National Friends of Libraries Week Awards: http://www.ala.org/united/grants_awards/friends/friendsweek.

Tags: , ,