Here at Durham County Library we often speak of the library family. Our library family consists of the Friends of the Durham Library, The Friends of Stanford L. Warren Library, Durham Library Foundation, and the Library Board of Trustees. All of these groups add value to our organization, some in the form of funding beyond that of the County and others in an advisory capacity specific to library policies.
This month I want to highlight the Friends of the Durham Library and their generous giving to staff and the community. One gift of the Friends is in the form of community book sales. Book sales in the past were held at our Main Library in the garage, but with the Transformation of Main Library sales are now held at Northgate in the Friends’ new location known as Books Among Friends. Members of the community provide a steady flow of books that are sorted by a team of volunteer sorters each Tuesday morning. They work diligently to provide quality used books for purchase at a very low price. Sales are now held eight times a year and proceeds benefit the library. This is beneficial in a couple of ways. First, it’s a way to recycle books that are no longer needed by you but that serve as a treasure for someone else. Secondly, it’s additional funding for needed library resources in the form of program dollars and even staff scholarships. You read that correctly, the Friends of the Durham Library provide scholarship funding up to $2,500 for staff members pursuing studies related to Library Science, with high expectations of staff to excel in their studies and continue excelling as an employee of Durham County Library. These scholarships help the library continue to foster a culture of lifelong learning in the community and among staff. Jerrod Johnson, the 2017 staff scholarship winner, credited the scholarship and the Friends of the Durham Library with helping him move closer to achieving “the privilege of being called a librarian and fulfilling that potential both my supervisor and family see in me.” The impact of the Friends of the Durham Library’s staff scholarships is lasting and ripples out into the community.
Staff are also encouraged to submit proposals to the Friends of the Durham Library to fund staff-directed innovations in the form of programs, technology, books, and more. The Friends encourage staff to submit proposals that are bold, effective, and address interests and needs in the community. This year, among other staff proposals, the Friends are helping fund the Fall Into Romance festival. The Friends continue to support Comics Fest as well. They also help fund our largest system-wide children’s program – Summer Reading. Our Summer Reading theme this year is “Libraries Rock,” and events will take place throughout Durham County from June 9 through August 11.
I should also mention that the Friends provide a great deal of support for our Staff Development Days held periodically each year, an opportunity for the library’s more than 140 staff members to gather, celebrate the work we do together, and learn ways we can continue to improve our services. All of the support provided by the Friends is too numerous to list. You, too, can become a Friend of the Durham Library. Please visit friendsofthedurhamlibrary.org for additional information.
While words can’t adequately capture my appreciation for the Friends, I offer these comments: To the Friends of the Durham Library, thank you for your continuous support and generous giving to staff and the community. I believe that friends are one of the greatest gifts a person can have. I’m very appreciative of each of you. Your gift of friendship for staff and the community is more valuable than the weight of gold.
2017 – 2018 Friends of the Durham Library Board
Carol Owen, President
Elizabeth Hein, Vice President
Susan Skinner, Treasurer
Felicia A. Leggett, Secretary
Robert (Bob) Colver
Jennifer R. Hill
Elnora Joyner Shields
Carol Ann Walters