Friends of the Library: A love of reading
By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
The Licking Branch of the county library opened June 3, 1947. After being housed in numerous smaller locations, it moved to its current location on Dec. 31, 2002, with the help of the community and the Friends of the Library. The Friends of the Library are a group of citizens who banded together to help meet our local library’s needs, as they still do today.
The Friends of the Library became official circa 1998-1999, but the mission began in 1997. The club’s goal at that time was a new, larger library facility in Licking. Donations were requested, with all proceeds going towards the Licking Library Building Fund, with a goal of $100,000.
Fundraisers that included book sales, a music show, open houses and labor by the Friends of the Library volunteers continued just as it still does today. Monetary donations from area businesses, organizations, private donors and various foundations, as well as book donations for book sales were received. The Texas County Library Board committed to match dollar for dollar the Friends of the Library funds up to $25,000 in 2001. The sale of the current building would also help towards the goal of a new location.
In April 2002, the Texas County Library Board and the Friends of the Library finalized the purchase of the building at 126 South Main Street that would be the new location of the Licking library. It was three times larger than the previous location, which allowed for more shelf space, computer space and room for library activities. Remodeling would begin in August.
The Mission Statement for the Friends of the Library reads, “Our goal is to serve the library and community. We will work toward this goal in the following ways: Raise funds to buy books, equipment and supplies; Help fund the Licking Library programs; Expand the Licking Library facilities and services; Support the local librarians; and Offer donated books to foster and encourage readers of all ages. (Revised Feb. 21, 2012)”
Their accomplishments have included labor on renovations to the prior library facility, help towards attainment of the current library facility, providing programs of interest to the community, book giveaways to the community, books for the library, library furniture, and contributions to the Summer Reading Program and Head Start program, Halloween festivities and Christmas festivities.
They continue to maintain the Book Nook, located in the Texas County Museum of Art & History; host book sales and giveaways; decorate the Main Street gazebo; contribute as needed with the library and community activities; maintain a partnership with the museum; and they work closely with the library staff and county library director Louis Beasley for any needs of the Licking Library Branch, all with an average of 10-12 members.
Why do they do it?
“I want books to be around forever, for others to have access to them and enjoy reading them,” expressed President Linda Roberts.
Member Lanella Taft said, “I just love books and love working with them.”
The general consensus was “… a love of reading!”
With that in mind, books are not priced in the Used Book Nook, located in the back room of the Texas County Museum of Art & History; patrons are asked to give a donation and also to recycle used books. All proceeds are used for activities, improvements and acquisitions at the Licking Library Branch. They are open Monday and Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Friends of the Library are seeking new membership of individuals 18 or older. Annual dues are being waived this year for new and current membership.
Their next meeting will be held at 11 a.m. at the Licking branch on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.