Friends of the Library Celebrates 40 Years

Friends of the Library President Amanda Wilde invites the community with an open door to the organization’s bookstore where they are hosting year-long sales in celebration of 40 years. Photo by Sarah Brown

The Sweet Home Friends of the Library is celebrating its 40th anniversary all year long by offering sale prices at its bookstore located at 1200 Long St.

President Amanda Wilde explained that a different section of the bookstore will be highlighted each month, selling books in that section for 40 cents apiece. The sale section in April is action/mystery/adventure. Next month they will highlight the self help section and -ology room (history, textbooks, biology). In December, Friends will host a week-long 40-cent book sale throughout the entire store.

Following a failed levy proposal in 1984, the City of Sweet Home had to close the library for lack of funding. In September that year, concerned citizens initiated the formation of Friends of the Library as a way to run library services through volunteers and provide other support.

The first president of the group, Don Rowe, told City Council, “The value of a community is in its library. The library gives a quality of life to a community.”

Librarian Nikki Hines removes the “Closed” sign from the city library as she and 33 volunteers prepare to reopen the facility in 1984. The library was closed for five weeks as the result of budget cutbacks by the city council in the face of levy defeats. File photo

The library was closed for five weeks before it reopened on a part-time basis thanks to $25,000 from the city and more than two dozen Friends volunteers ready to serve. The Friends also began planning its first book sale to provide supportive funding and materials, and in December of that year they sold baked goods and crafts at a holiday bazaar to benefit the library.

Today, the Sweet Home Public Library operates from grants and a local levy, but proceeds from Friends book sales help fund all of the library programs. According to Library Services Director Megan Dazey, Friends raises more than $10,000 a year for programs such as storytime crafts, the Summer Reading Program, (shipping costs for) the seed library, and new board games and puzzles. They also purchased instruments, furniture, the teen room television, and Nintendo Switch and games.

“They fund all the fun things,” Dazey said.

As the weather begins to warm, librarians and Friends are gearing up for the Summer Reading Program, which often takes place weekly at Sankey Park. Friends also recently received a grant to replace the little libraries around town with more weather-friendly boxes.

Friends sells books and movies donated from the community and the library, and is operated entirely by volunteers. Wilde has been volunteering there for seven years.

“It’s a really great way to help out the community and volunteer,” Wilde said. “Our mission statement is to help each person in Sweet Home who loves books to get a book in their hand and learn to read.”