WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The Galaxy Hall auditorium in the Children's Trove, a grand Steinway piano in the White Plains Library's main auditorium, and the seasonal art exhibits in the second-floor gallery were all funded by a small group of volunteers called the Friends of White Plains Public Library.
The Friends of White Plains Public Library has been raising money for the local library for 64 years now. The 10 board members help collect, sort, and sell books at the bookshop at the front of the library. Proceeds from the book sales, member dues, and other fundraisers help pay for new furniture, ongoing library staff education and a classical music concert series at the library. It also funds the international film festival, and other library programs.
During the sixth annual National Friends of Libraries Week that begins Sunday, Elizabeth Hughes, the librarian liaison to the White Plains Friends organization, said it's important to recognize the volunteers' dedication.
"I can't say enough good about them. They work extremely hard. They're always incredibly generous and willing to help," said Hughes, a White Plains resident who has worked at the library for 17 years. "It's a smashing success."
National Friends of Libraries Week, offering Friends groups to promote their community outreach programs and raise awareness from Oct. 16 to 22. The celebrations also allow library staff and Board of Trustee members to recognize Friends groups and support local libraries.
The annual event was coordinated by the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, a division of the American Library Association with approximately 5,000 Friends of the Library, Trustee, Foundation and individual members and affiliates representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters.
"I'm convinced that the libraries are so much richer for the enthusiasm and expertise that the Friends bring to the Library," ALTAFF Executive Director Sally Gardner Reed said in a statement. "I hope that libraries across the country will use this week to honor their best supporters the Friends of their Library and use this opportunity to promote and expand their membership in this valuable organization."
Rhoda Phillips, president of the White Plains organization, said the library is always looking for new friends.
"Our membership is diminishing. We charge very little," said Phillips, who has been involved with the Friends of White Plains Public Library since the 1990s and managed the bookstore for 14 years. "We're just hoping to increase it a little bit. Membership dues is part of the money that funds this all."
The Friends estimates it has approximately 100 members.
Are you a member of the Friends of the White Plains Public Library? Are there any projects or donations made possible by the Friends that you're grateful for? Join the conversation below.
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