Did you know that a huge portion of the library's budget goes to buildings and staff salaries? I never actually realized this, but maintaining these wonderful, air conditioned oases of book paradise comes at a cost. We know that maintenance and paying personnel are crucial...if there are no buildings or staff, how could our library system work? It couldn't.
With that said, did you know that the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library groups have a HUGE impact on the programming, displays and more that you see in your library EVERY DAY? I didn't know this before I heard about a Friends board meeting from a librarian. The libraries and the Friends group are encouraging new memberships.
At one local branch Friends meeting, I found out that the Friends had paid for the following at this particular location:
automatic entry doors
landscaping and maintenance of their nice landscaping (seriously..go compare library landscapes...the libraries with active and involved Friends look a lot nicer)
E-readers for the branch
I could go on and on. I was shocked! I just assumed that the costs of all these items was just automatically provided by the city.
Fund Requests Included:
Supplies for baby time
Fixtures for CD's to be housed in the library (the ones they have are not efficient and need to be upgraded badly)
Summer performances for children's programming! (I had NO idea the Friends helped with this)
There were other items too, but these give you an idea.
Keep in mind that everything has to be proposed and VOTED ON by the Friends! I WAS THE ONLY MOM OF SMALL CHILDREN THERE, VOTING. The Do you really want me and a HANDFUL of other people you don't know deciding where the Friend's budget goes? Really?
re was one other mom, who had older children, but was not a Friend (officially) and could not vote (don't worry she signed up after the meeting).
Well, you need to get involved! For only $15 per year, you can become a Friend of the library for a year and VOTE in these meetings. The time commitment is MINIMAL. I will also say, the group of Friends is aging, and they will tell you this themselves. They have been in the Friends groups for decades, and they would love to see the groups grow.
I would not be suggesting this if it was not important to the vitality and growth of the programming for our children.
How you can help:
Become a FRIEND.
Donate to the Friends.
Shop at the Book Cart (at some branches there is a cart where you can buy books)
Sign up to volunteer at the library
And if you become a Friend, you can help and shop first at your branch's book sale! Wink Wink.
Resources for YOU!
Monthly Library Director's Reports. These are very interesting and you might find out about a branch, program or general library news. Also includes circulation numbers, which I personally find fascinating.
Fiscal Year 2015 Library Budget Proposal
Friends of the San Antonio Public Library (also check out the treasurers reports!)
SAPLINGS the Bi-monthly Friends newsletter, I actually really learned a lot about current events at the libraries.
If you enjoy the library and its programming, and are able, you would enjoy being part of the Friends group at your branch. It's up to US to change, support and help the library. We can show older and younger generations that late twenty and thirty-somethings care and can make a difference.
*In no way is this post meant to be negative* This is a great way for those who can to support our city, our librarians, and other members of our community and I wanted to share it with you. =)