Check It Out!: Worthington Libraries 'friends' mark 40 years of tireless support

Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2012, 3:46 pm

Worthington Libraries can boast many firsts.

Chuck Gibson

Check it Out! by Chuck Gibson appears regularly in the SNP/Worthington News.

When it was established in 1803, it was the first library in Franklin County and only the third in the state. Worthington Libraries was the first library in the county to hire a dedicated young adult librarian when Marguerite Carder joined the staff in 1945. Our ongoing partnership with the Columbus Metropolitan Library in the joint operation of the Northwest Library also was a state first.

One of the "firsts" we're most proud of, however, is our Friends organization.

The Friends of Worthington Libraries was established as a support organization for the library in 1972. It is an independent nonprofit organization managed by its own dedicated board of directors. Now known as the Friends Foundation of Worthington Libraries, 2012 marks the organization's 40th anniversary year.

Our Friends organization, like many others in the country, is best known for hosting used-book sales. For many years, the Friends held one large sale under an enormous tent erected on the Village Green during Market Day. Now, the group holds sales six times a year in the meeting room of the Old Worthington Library.

The Friends Foundation also sells books online and at ongoing sales located in the Old Worthington and Northwest libraries.

Funds generated through book sales and memberships— the Friends Foundation has more than 340 active members— are used to pay for programs and other important library initiatives. In 2012, the Friends Foundation will grant more than $43,000 to Worthington Libraries.

The majority of the money granted to the Library by the Friends Foundation is used to support programming costs, including the summer reading program. In 2011, more than 7,000 children and teens participated in our summer reading program, where the prize for finishing was tickets to one of three Columbus Clippers baseball games. Providing such a fantastic final prize would not have been possible without funding from the Friends Foundation.

In addition to working tirelessly at book sales, the Friends Foundation board also has the job of managing the Worthington Libraries Endowment Fund. Established at the Columbus Foundation in 2002, the endowment fund was set up to provide a supplemental revenue stream for the library and is a place for donors to make a lasting contribution to the library and a positive impact on their community.

The Friends Foundation also supports the popular February by the Fire music series, summer concerts at the Northwest Library, author visits and the library's annual community breakfast. The community breakfast, which will be held April 11 at the Old Worthington Library, provides us with an opportunity to thank the entire community for their support of the library— and no one provides us with greater support than members of the Friends Foundation. As such, they will be the focus of this year's event.

The Friends Foundation of Worthington Libraries makes so many wonderful things possible at Worthington Libraries. I'd like to thank them for all they do and invite you to consider joining them if you haven't already. Membership applications are available in the libraries and online at worthingtonlibraries.org.

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