Say one were buying an airline ticket. The Grand County Library District would be airfare, and the support provided by the Friends of Grand County Library, Inc. would upgrade from basic economy to economy-plus or business — extra leg room, free baggage, flexibility of travel — making travel more enhanced, more pleasurable.
I’m not far off using this transportation analogy to talk about the work of the Friends group in relation to our library district.
Libraries, after all, can be considered vessels that transport you to a world of knowledge and learning. The Friends group funds for the district provides programming to help make that knowledge accessible, more enjoyable, and enhanced.
The Lego programming; Babies, Books and Bag; 1000 Books Before Kindergarten; Summer Reading Program and its prizes for children, teens and adults; After-School Programming—the Friends gives necessary funds for snacks, prizes and treats that accommodate programming at your library, as well as craft supplies, costumes, puppets, tot-sized furniture, shopping carts and even a popcorn machine.
And the seed money for the now popular Access Grand, which allows library cardholders access to a variety of activities in Grand County and beyond, was Friends-contributed, thanks in part to a Friends pool of membership that has nearly tripled in size since the group first organized in 1984.
“Our fundraisers have grown from selling ‘mud cups’ and Rice Krispies Treats at the Fraser Rodeo to ‘The Tops of the Rockies’ at the Grand Lake Yacht Club,” said Marla Gall, Friends president, who was one of the founding members of the organization. The Tops of the Rockies annual event she mentioned now is the group’s most successful one-night fundraiser, which over the last three years has averaged $30,000 annually.
The Friends group has ushered this mission for longer than three decades, promoting literacy and learning. Gall said she returned to the group’s board about 15 years ago to help continue this important mission. “I recognize how important libraries are to cultural growth and education,” she said.
Friends volunteer worker bees facilitate used-books collection at the local branches, plus a smattering of used-book sales throughout the county. Gently used books are sold on a continual basis at Sloopy’s in Grand Lake, Grand Park Community Recreation building, Midtown Café and Blue Water bakery as well as Grand Lake recreation building. And the Sky-Hi News building has served as a depository for donated books for many years.
Other Friends fundraising events are an annual Progressive Dinner in the Fraser Valley (coming up on December 4) and a tea luncheon in Granby.
And the Friends group is proud of its track record, consistently donating to the district more than 90 percent of its earnings. “It’s a very good ratio for a nonprofit,” Gall said.
“We add the bells and whistles,” she said. “We’ve engendered a great appreciation for the Library, and through our fundraisers and activities, the Friends have brought attention to the library and the importance of the library.”
To contact the Friends of Grand County Library or to become a member, visit friendsofgrandcountylibrary.org or leave a note at any library branch in Grand County.