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* a special addition to the footnote

The virtual mailbag brought a query from a library patron who wanted to know what being a Friend of the Library meant.
Here's what the President of our organization wrote in reply:

It is a very good question, and of course can be answered on many levels. I'll start with a quote from our by-laws regarding the Friends "purpose":

The purpose of this organization shall be:

  • To promote increased awareness and knowledge of the services and needs of the Pittsford Community Library [hereafter known as “the Library”];
  • To encourage and sponsor volunteer services for the Library;
  • To augment Library services, programs, and materials beyond those covered by the Library’s normal operating budget, through fund raising activities; 
  • To promote cultural and related programs for the Pittsford Community; 
  • To encourage and proactively support local, county, state, and national library advocacy initiatives. 
We do our best to support these goals in a variety of ways. Of course, a "friend" is someone with whom you have a mutual bond of affection & support, and that certainly applies to the Friends and how we view our relationships with the Library and its staff.  We have a fluctuating membership of about 300 paid members, and also a governing Executive Committee of about 16 members who oversee and are responsible for our financial situation, our strategies, and our actions, as a 501c3 tax exempt non-profit organization. A member of the Library Trustees usually attends our EC meetings, and I usually attend their meetings.

Folks join the Friends to support the Friends and the Library, both monetarily and by volunteering, but also as that membership allows them to come to the "members only" opening evening of our semi-annual book sales to get a first look at all the sales have to offer. We have a cadre of about a hundred volunteers who work diligently to plan and organize, set up, run, and close down our semi-annual book sales, which are generating about $30K a year for the Library. There is a dedicated subset of these volunteers who are in our sorting room (right across from the Library's main entrance, stop by to say hello and talk with us some morning) every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings from before 9 until all the recent donations have been evaluated and sorted... this is an ongoing, demanding, sometimes frustrating and challenging job, that our volunteers love to do.

 The results of our ongoing membership dues, hall sales, mini-sales, the semi-annual sales (and this year a presence at the Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair) allow us to provide the Library with extra funding to support programs, books, materials, and media that would not otherwise be available to the Library. These are very difficult financial times for libraries, as I am sure you can appreciate. The Friends also attend a Monroe County Friends group to share and learn of mutual library-related activities, and participate in various advocacies in support of libraries. The Friends have no operating budget beyond those monies spent in support of our sales activities, and those funds provided to the Library.

A good group, good times, all for a good cause. Let me know if you have any questions. I have one for you: Are you a Friend? If not, hopefully you will consider becoming one.

Neil Richards
President, Friends of the Pittsford Library

added November 1, 2011

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