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Friends of the Library Week!

What They Are and Why They're Important

By The Library Team • October 17, 2021

How to Make and Keep Friends: ThriftBooks and Friends of the Library

The 16th Annual Friends of the Libraries Week is October 17–23, 2021. This kicks off another year to show appreciation and recognition to the Friends. Their daily volunteer work helps fund our libraries, keeping them alive and their doors open to readers. ThriftBooks creates a circle with the Friends groups; we help them sell their books resulting in increased library funding.

The very first Friends of the Libraries group was formed in 1922 on a grassroots level. In 1929 the American Library Association (ALA) stepped up to help and formed the ALA Friends of the Libraries Committee. In 1980, the Friends had grown to be an affiliated organization of the ALA. There are now over 2,000 Friends and over 6,000 members across the nation—so much to celebrate. This post will cover why Friends of the Libraries are important, what it means to you, and how you can be a friend too!

Importance of Friends

Over the years, Friends have proven to be an invaluable resource for our public libraries. Without them, they would not have nearly as many services available to fill our homes and hearts with limitless knowledge, stories, and a sense of community. The Friends groups are largely responsible for spreading the awareness of all the benefits our libraries provide and how others can help those libraries to further flourish and thrive in their well-earned success. They also aid our communities when it is needed most by providing hours of community service and funds that go into hosting numerous events to raise funds, awareness, and to bring books to those that need them most.

The Friends groups have aided library-run programs by bridging monetary gaps when libraries could not accumulate the necessary funding on their own and bringing awareness to the many benefits they have to offer. Friends help libraries expand their services and go beyond the needs of their organizations and the members of their communities. They also work closely with companies, like ThriftBooks, to rehome many valuable sources of literature into the hands of those who can benefit from them the most. They are also responsible for the many events hosted throughout the year that bring value and awareness to the literary community. These events include book fairs, fundraisers, volunteer recruitment, and so much more.

Meaning Matters

The past two years especially have shown us how truly valuable these groups are. During the pandemic, many members of the Friends were unable to help support the libraries due to the fear of spreading the coronavirus; but this did not stop the groups from going above expectations and helping those who were most in need. By working alongside ThriftBooks, the Friends groups were not only able to increase library sales overall, but they were able to convert their stores into vaccination and testing sites. This has shown their true dedication to not only the libraries but to the well-being of others.

For many public libraries, the Friends have been a necessary source of support that has aided in their success for many years. These groups have put hundreds of selfless hours into ensuring the success of our libraries. Our ThriftBooks teams work very closely with these individuals involved in the Friends groups and we can say with collected certainty that these are some of the most gracious and whole-hearted individuals we have ever had the pleasure to work with. Their love of books and love of the community shines through in every interaction they share, and we appreciate them for all that they do.

You Can Be a Friend Too

To help in our continued support of these groups, we invite you to browse the titles listed here for Ex-Library copies. By purchasing Ex-Library copies, you can become a part of the Friends groups too as a portion of our sales profits goes directly to the Friends. ThriftBooks also shows our support by hosting a community book sale where we help in reselling book supply for fair market value in place of the Friends groups. Our appreciation of the Friends groups expands beyond this single week, but we will continue to remind them how much we value them by highlighting their work and contributing to their cause.

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