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Ennis Daily News

A little help from friends

The Friends of the Ennis Public Library is in its second year of being a United Way agency, and since then the club has had to make some changes for the better, said club president Barbara Sims.
For instance, the way the club elects officers has been changed. Instead of electing a new set of officers every year, the club now has two-year terms for every officer, with half of them being elected every year.
“It’s a better way of doing things because we have some continuity from year to year,” she said.
Elections were held in December and current officers are Sims, treasurer Kathy Morse, secretary Neva Roark, first vice president Robin Gutierrez and second vice president Larry Candy.
The club also changed their bookkeeping procedures. In order to receive funds from the United Way, a club must keep detailed records of how money is spent, Sims said. This helped the club keep better track of where the money was going.
Morse helped the club apply for funds from the United Way.
The Friends of the Library assists the Ennis Public Library by financing programs the library would not otherwise be able to afford. The library’s budget comes from the city, and sometimes is not enough to cover everything the library wants to do, Sims said.
The club also helps the library raise funds to buy books. They have added many books for children and youth, including several bilingual books, said Candy.
The Friends of the Library helps the elderly use the library and the computers in the facility. The club also assists the Boys and Girls Club in using the library, Sims said.
The Friends of the Library also finances an online book club, a Wednesday morning reading program for small children, a teen reading program and an adult reading program.
These programs help encourage people to read, and also help bring more books into the library. The city has grown and diversified, and as a result, the collection of books at the library has grown and diversified, too, Sims said.
“When I first came here, the library didn’t have seven or eight of my favorite authors,” Candy said. “Since that time, the library has brought in books by more authors.”
Every year, the Friends of the Library holds a book sale fund-raiser for the library. The sale was held last fall, and raised $4,000 with most items being sold for $1 or less. The book sale had all types of books, including fantasy, fiction, nonfiction, children’s books and classics, Candy said.
“I would say that over 6,000 books went out the door,” Candy said.
The Friends of the Library also runs the Homeless Books Program. The library gets book donations every day and librarians sort through them and put many on the shelves. The books that don’t get placed on the shelves are sold in the Friends of the Library book sale, Sims said.
The library has about 100 magazine subscriptions, and they keep magazines for about a year. In the past the magazines were thrown away after this time, but the Friends of the Library developed an outreach program to bring old magazines to hospitals and nursing homes for residents to read, Sims said. The club has about 15 volunteers working on this program.
“The magazines are given another life,” Sims said. “Most of those magazines are just as good today as they were a year ago. The information is still relevant.”
The Friends of the Library has recently established a scholarship program for high school seniors who have volunteered in the library’s Junior Volunteer program. In order to fund the scholarship, the Friends of the Library set up a CD account with money earned from the club’s annual book sale. The interest earned by the account is used for the scholarship, Sims said.
Roark said she is impressed with how far the library has come from the time it was housed on the third floor of the police station 50 years ago.
“This is such a modern facility we have now,” Roark said. “It’s not just a library; we have lots of organizations that meet here.”
Reaching out to the community through games is also a focus of the Friends of the Library. The group sponsors chess lessons for kids, taught by Candy and there is a group that regularly meets at the library to play bridge.
There is also a forthcoming intergenerational arts and crafts program for kids and adults, Sims said.
Some people might wonder why a library has more programs than those that involve reading, but Candy said if they can get kids interested in something, they are likely to turn to a book to find out more about their interest.
“The library is for all types of knowledge,” Roark said.
Ever since Candy began teaching chess last May, every book in the library about chess has been checked out at least six times.
The Friends of the Library is dedicated to bringing knowledge to both kids and adults, Roark said.
“Everything is free,” she said. “We want people to get involved.”
The club’s goals for this year include increasing membership and developing more programs, said Candy.
“We want to see more involvement from the community,” Roark said. “We are not an elite club. We are workers, and we need more workers.”
The Friends of the Ennis Public Library was established in 1980, and filed for incorporation with the state in the same year.
Each member of the Friends of the Library has a reason to be there. Candy joined when the club was looking for a chess instructor, and has been getting more involved ever since.
Sims retired from a private sector job where she was an efficiency expert. She used her experience to help the club run more smoothly. She said she gained a lot of knowledge from visiting libraries as a child.
“If I had not been encouraged to use the library as a child, I might not have been able to graduate from college,” Sims said.
An annual individual membership to the Friends of the Library is $10. A family may join for $15 a year. It is $5 a year for students and seniors 65 or older. There is also a lifetime membership, which is a one-time payment of $100. There are many volunteer opportunities available through the club. The Friends of the Library meet the second Tuesday of the month at noon at the Ennis Public Library.

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Posted by on Jan 26 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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