How important are Friends groups? They can literally make the difference between a budget increase and cut for their libraries. Since the beginning of the American library movement, Friends groups have been formed by citizens using their collective powers to do everything from running a book sale to ensuring that our American library legacy remains viable. By contributing as a library Friend, you can make a lasting difference for your library (Ilovelibraries.org). Father Bob Larkin spearheaded the formation of the Friends of the Idyllwild Library in 1982. In 1984 the entire staff of the Library was laid off, but the Friends of the Library came through by raising funds to keep the library open for 20 hours a week. When the library moved to Lower Pine Crest, the Friends of the Library had a deck built, and in the following years, the Friends provided funding for more books and additional staff. Throughout, the Friends of the Library was accumulating funds in anticipation of a future library expansion. By the year 2000 the friends had $50,000, which was matched by a grant from then Supervisor Jim Venable, which gave the Friends $100,000 for the project. In 2010 Supervisor Jeff Stone approved financing to provide Idyllwild with a new library. However, the County was only going to cover the cost of having the library open 20 hours/week. Because the Friends had diligently accumulated funds for the new library, they were able to cover the costs to keep the library open for 40 hours per week. Fortunately, the County of Riverside soon saw the boon in library usage from having the library open for more hours and now provides funding for all the hours the library is open. The Friends of the Library now focuses on funding for more books, periodicals, laptop computers, digitizing the Town Crier, book racks, security cameras, and many more items and activities. Another focus of the Friends is to provide monthly programming at the library. As you can see, the Friends of the Library puts forth a lot of time and effort to support the Idyllwild Library and the community. The Friends of the Idyllwild Library is always looking for new members to help support the library and work side by side with the librarian and the library staff to meet the community’s needs. You can become a Friend through our website at http://www.friendsofidyllwillibrary.com or by visiting the library and requesting a membership application.
We look forward to partnering with you to help keep the Idyllwild Library thriving.
John Mathys, President