They wear red shirts and wander around the library, shelving books and signing people up for reading programs. They are the Friends of the Maricopa Public Library.
The nonprofit organization is dedicated to supporting the local library. These volunteers raise money, run programs and hold special events to enhance the Maricopa Public Library.
“I found that volunteering gives you a sense of giving back and releases endorphins with a ‘feel good’ mode attached,” said Chairwoman Joan Garrett. “With the Friends you have a feeling of not only giving back, but being involved with your community and their literacy agenda.”
By supporting that agenda, Garrett said, Friends support the library staff in whatever is needed to benefit the community.
Beginning with a small bookshelf in an insurance office next to the Post Office in 1958, the Friends of the Library has helped grow the Maricopa Public Library.
Hosting author events featuring OneBookAZ winners, a short-story contest and special events featuring Dr. Seuss and Harry Potter are just some of the programs Friends help with. Summer and winter reading programs bring together the community in a spirit of literacy, with more than 700 participants in each event.
Each spring and fall, the group hosts a book sale, such as the Oct. 27 book sale starting at 8 a.m. at Santa Rosa Elementary School. In addition to the book sales, there is a used-book area of the library where people can purchase cheap books, DVDs and CDs.
“It’s amazing to see our fellow Maricopans perusing the tables all in search of a good read,” member Roberta Cianciosi said. “What one donates becomes another one’s treasure. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve found at these sales that now dot the shelves of my own personal library, as well as the one in my classroom.”
Funds from the sales purchase new books for the library, hold special programs such as Harry Potter or author events, and award scholarships to college-bound seniors.
Scholarship applications are available at the schools, and include basic information such as GPA and test scores, as well as a short essay and two recommendations. Last year, two $2,000 scholarships were awarded with the help of matching funds from the city. Scholarship applications are available at the schools.
This scholarship program is one of Garrett’s favorites.“Having been a university professor for many years, it is a goal of mine to encourage young people to continue their education and then become active, educated, voting citizens in the community,” she said.
The group, with the help of Councilman Bridger Kimball, have purchased an Automatic External Defibrillator for the library. Kimball donates his monthly council salary to local charity and has designated October pay to the Friends.
“Using that and our matching funds, we able to protect the safety of the community who are the patrons of our library,” Garrett said.
Anyone with a love of reading and lifetime learning and a desire a desire to spread this love is welcome to become a Friend, Garrett said. One must be a member to volunteer at any of the Friends’ events. Membership is $15 or $25 for a family.
FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY EVENTS, MEETINGS AND GOODIES
When: 2-3:30 p.m., Tuesdays
Where: Library meeting room
What: Chance to join Friends for refreshments, conversation and getting acquainted with the library. All ages welcomed.
On-going book sale
Where: Maricopa Public Library,
41600 W. Smith-Enke Road
Cost: Audio, $1; children’s books and paperbacks, 75 cents; hardcover, $2.
Biannual book sale
When: 8 a.m. Oct. 27.
Where: Santa Rosa Elementary School, 21400 N. Santa Rosa Parkway.
When: Second Monday of the month.
Where: Library meeting room.
“Home Cookin’ From Maricopa, AZ” cookbook, $5. Collection of recipes from local cooks. Proceed benefit the library.
Tote bag, $7. Friends of the Library red polo shirt, $18 with paid membership.
More information is available at MaricopaFriends.yolasite.com.