ROCHESTER — The Friends of the Rochester Hills Public Library recently gave the library $105,000 in funds raised throughout 2011.
“We were very pleased with the amount we raised this year,” said Friends President Kathy Dorn. “It’s the first time in recent history that we’ve gone over $100,000. I want to say we did $85,000 last year.”
Library Director Christine Lind Hage said the money will be used to fund free public programs — for both adults and children — throughout 2012, and to purchase 70 new public computers.
The Friends of the Rochester Hills Public Library is a nonprofit volunteer organization with more than 600 members that has supported library programs for more than 50 years. One of the Friends’ longest-running programs is the Sunday Concert Series. Other Friends-sponsored programs include Fabulous Fridays for kids, Saturday story times, and programs at library Bookmobile stops and for people learning to speak English.
The Friends raise money each year by conducting three used book sales, through sales in their library store and their used book cart, and through special fundraisers like the Holiday Home Tour, and ornament and T-shirt sales.
Lind Hage said the Friends are “essential” to the library, adding that members raise money that helps expand and improve the library.
“They give an annual gift of this size every year, so that is significant. They also serve as our apostles in the community and they tell their friends, families and neighbors about the library and our good deeds. The Friends are really important to the library. Many of them are volunteers in the building as well,” she said.
The Friends underwrite all of the programs that are put on at the library, cover the cost of the library’s newsletter — which goes to 4,200 addresses in Oakland Township, Rochester and Rochester Hills four times a year — and even purchase special equipment for the library, such as a motorized scooter for people with disabilities and mini-grocery carts to help people move around the library. But the largest gift item given by the Friends was the Bookmobile purchased in 2005, which serves the residents of Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township. More than 85,000 items were borrowed last year from the small Bookmobile collection, according to library staff.
“They aren’t paying our electric bill, they aren’t paying staff salaries, but they’re buying things that enhance our service and make the library better for the users,” said Lind Hage.
Dorn said the organization is always looking for new members and those who want to lend a helping hand.
“We’re looking for people to serve on boards, we’re looking for people to do used book sales, and we’re looking for people to work on the cart, so there is lots of ways you can help,” she said.
Those interested in joining the Friends of the Rochester Hills Public Library should call (248) 650-7160. The library is located three blocks east of Main Street, off of University Drive, in downtown Rochester.
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