Thursday, November 10, 2011

Group forges strong “Friendship”

Submitted by Jo Moore

Just three years ago, a small group of people came together to see if they could help the Clearwater Memorial Public Library (CMPL) to complete some much-needed upgrading and maintenance projects, as well as help raise monies to purchase new equipment.

The group re-organized as the CMPL Friends, formed a Board of Directors, and secured a “Wish List” from the Director of the library. They began meeting on a regular basis each month, and promptly began work on their “projects,” under the leadership of newly-elected President Kitty Geidl. 

With some funds remaining from the previous Friends of the Library, now defunct, their first donation was a new commercial vacuum cleaner in 2008. They also donated to the Summer Reading Program.

One of their first goals was to improve the appearance of the library’s grounds, and with the enthusiastic leadership of member Bernie DeLallo, a landscaping plan was adopted, and money was voted to get the first year’s work started. This has been an ongoing project, and with the help of the members doing the summer watering, the library’s lawn is looking its best ever!

In 2009 funds were allocated toward a big new clock for the library, landscaping, and summer reading, while fundraising efforts were focused on book sales during the summer and at the Patchwork Bazaar.

The Friends were challenged to find money-raising ideas which would net them enough to tackle the really expensive needed projects, so in late 2009, member Cathy Jenni came up with the idea of a Dinner Theater for the following summer, and the rest is history. 

The first dinner theater was held in 2010 at the High Country Inn, with the facilities and cooking, donated by member Jo Moore. Volunteers from the Friends formed the labor, and the group was able to raise over $3000, enough to pay for replacement of windows in the children’s section.

This year, 2011, due to problems finding a cast and director who could all be available at the same time, the annual Dinner Theater had to be postponed, but in its stead, an outdoor Texas Barbeque was held in June at the High Country Inn, and this time, the net proceeds exceeded $4,000!  That money was allocated toward the new heat pump cost for the library, which was $5,000.

Other projects included a Book Cart, donated by Cathy and Don Jenni, which was launched this summer at its outdoor book sale as “Books a la Carte,” The cart was used all summer and will be on display again during the Patchwork Bazaar.  The sign for the cart was made and donated by ASE. 

A major decision for the Friends was to decide on a new bench to replace the old one which had sat in front of the library for several years as a tribute to former library director Peggy Flowers. The bench, no longer repairable, had to be replaced, and a new one now stands in its stead for patrons to enjoy, thanks to monies raised by the small group. 

Ongoing donations include those made to each Summer Reading Program, and “Let’s Talk About It,” the book discussion group sponsored by the library.  There are several projects yet on the “Wish List” and it is hoped that the community will continue to support the Friends’ fund raising efforts in the future, as plans are already in the works for a new “dinner theater” for next summer, with many surprises in store!

The group would like to invite those who would like to be active supporters of the library to attend the group meetings, which are held the first Wednesday of the month at in the library annex. 

For more information, check with Library Director Ellen Tomlinson.

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