UNION — A local group’s efforts to support the Union County Carnegie Library were recognized Thursday in a proclamation issued by the City of Union.
Mayor Harold Thompson signed a proclamation declaring the week of Oct. 21-27 “Friends of Libraries Week” in Union in honor of the Friends of the Library and its efforts to “make our library and community so much better.”
The proclamation cites the groups efforts to “raise money that enables our library to move from good to great — providing the resources for additional programming, much needed equipment, support for children’s summer reading, and special event throughout the year.”
It further states that the work of the group “highlights on an on-going basis the fact that our library is the cornerstone of the community providing opportunities for all to engage in the joy of life-long learning and connect with the thoughts and ideas of others from ages past to present.”
The proclamation states that the members of the group “understand the critical importance of well-funded libraries and advocate to ensure that our library gets the resources it needs to provide a wide variety of services to all ages including access to print and electronic materials, along with expert assistance in research, readers’ advisory, and children’s services.”
It also states that the group’s “gift of their time and commitment to the library sets an example for all in how volunteerism leads to positive civic engagement and the betterment of our community.”
Thompson pointed out that in addition to honoring the Friends for its support of the library, the proclamation is part of the city’s efforts to support the library. He said the city supports the library financially, having allocated $3,000 for its operations in the 2012-2013 budget.
“The library is very important to our community,” Thompson said. “The city supports the library and will continue to support it as long as I am mayor.”
Thompson said the library provides a number of vital services to both children and adults.
“The library does great work for our children, especially disadvantaged children,” Thompson said. “It also does great work with adults, especially in these hard economic times. It provides them with access to computers and resources that they may not have at home. They can come to the library and use these for free.”
Thompson urged the public to support the library, not only because of the services it provides, but for the prestige it has brought to the city and the county.
“More people should support the library because it is very important that we have a library in our community,” Thompson said. “The fact that the Union County Carnegie Library was named the best small library in the country says a lot about Union County.”
The Union County Carnegie Library was named the “Best Small Library in America 2009” by Library Journal and was featured in the Feb. 1, 2009 edition of the magazine.
In addition to being named America’s best small library, Carnegie also received $15,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Created in 2005, the award celebrates and showcases the work of libraries serving communities with populations of less than 25,000.
The signing ceremony was attended by Ben Loftis, library director, who thanked the Friends for their support and the city for its recognition of the group’s efforts.
“This is National Friends of the Libary Week which is designed to honor all the fund raising and support groups that work to make libraries better,” Loftis said. “We really appreciate all the support that our local Friends group has provided to us and the many activities they’ve made possible for the library. We also appreciate the City of Union and Mayor Harold Thompson for their recognition of the Friends to enhance library services in Union County.”
Loftis said the group’s support for the library takes a number of forms.
“They help out with programming, either through providing funding to put the programs on or providing refreshments and decorations for the program,” Loftis said. “They are helping us with showing the ‘American Road To Victory” trilogy and they’ve provided refreshments for some of our speakers. They’ve played a key role in helping get us set up for the finale of our Summer Reading program and they provided funds for repainting our restrooms.
“Again, we want to say thank you to all the Friends for their time and efforts for supporting the library,” he said. “We want to especially thank Dr. Kelli Johnson for her leadership and the Friends Library Board for their guidance in running the group.”