By Harry Kavros, President, Friends of the Orange County Public Library Board of Directors
When I was six years old my family moved to the edge of civilization. Our house was the last house on the street before the forest. Even in that small town we had a library; it was a one-room basement in the police station. That room was my refuge as a child, where my imagination was engaged, and where I challenged myself to read more and more complicated books. By the time the library moved to its own building, I had moved from the Hardy Boys to what was then difficult reading for me, Jim Kjelgaard’s books about dogs and wolves. Kjelgaard wrote more than forty novels for young readers, and I read several before I moved on.
I’ve moved a dozen times since then, and I’ve never been much farther than walking distance from a library. It might be going a bit far to say that libraries saved my life, but they did save me from boredom, and they invited me to become self-reliant and widely read. I think I share this with you, and it’s one of the reasons why my colleagues and friends on the board have spent some of our time supporting the library in our town.
This year we’ve been able to improve the organization in a few ways: we joined the Chamber of Commerce, we launched ourselves into the twentieth century with the introduction of credit-card purchases at the book sales, we’ve started online book sales, we held a series of author events, we documented a dozen processes and procedures to help future boards, we started member discounts at local businesses, and we added to the membership rolls.
The Friends exist for the sole purpose of supporting library projects. This year we’ve given five grants:
- help repair flood damage
- support the library’s strategic planning process
- give New Hope elementary school students ten books each for summer reading
- fund the library’s summer learning program
- purchase adult book club kits
As for our finances, grants totaled $10,100. We raised money with the usual suspects: book sales and membership. We started the year with $43,520 and ended with $45,183.
Finally, we’re always on the lookout for volunteers and board members. If you have a likely candidate, please let us know. If you know someone young enough to keep us updated on social-media venues, drop us a line. If you know a cutting-edge fundraiser, we’ll give you some free books.
This year’s winner of the Janet Flowers Award is Jane Gaede. It is impossible to go to a book sale and not see Jane volunteering. And she’s there even when you don’t see her, when we’re setting up the room and preparing for the sales. Thanks very much, Jane.
Board members for 2018 are: Harry Kavros, Shannon Turlington, Susan Vreeland, Stacey Gamble, James Maxey, and Samantha Bryant. I’d like to thank each of last year’s board members for their energy and spirit. A happy winter solstice and holiday season to all our members.