Our libraries are so much more than a place to pick up and drop off books. They are cornerstones of our communities, where locals can gather around shared interests, hold club meetings, join in activities or learn a new skill. They are a place where parents can bring their children for fun, free play and story times that foster a love of reading.
For everything we are able to get out of our libraries, they ask very little, which can be problematic when faced with the reality that maintaining such a wide variety of offerings to the public does come at a cost.
This is where organizations such as the Friends of the Mt. Laurel Library come in. They are the unsung heroes of our local library, the ones making sure the events calendar remains full of programming for residents of all ages and interests.
The group did receive some due acknowledgment during a council meeting earlier this month in recognition of National Friends of Libraries Week. Mayor Kurt Folcher read a proclamation honoring them for their work raising money for the local library and providing the necessary resources for additional programming, equipment, museum passes and new library services throughout the year.
“The library needs money,” said Bernadette Garofola, president of the Friends. “Besides the social aspect, which is important especially after you retire for seniors, so we can continue offering so much more to the children, to teens and adults.”
The group is comprised completely of volunteers who devote their personal time to a cause they believe makes a real difference for people in their area.
“We know that it’s necessary and will help an enormous amount of people who live around us,” said Garofola.
One of the group’s main fundraising events is just around the corner. The Mount Laurel Library Bargain Book and Media Sale will be taking place at the library from Oct. 23 to Oct. 26.
Members of the Friends are invited to the preview night on Wednesday, Oct. 23 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. There will be an opportunity for new members to join at the preview night event. The sale will be open to the public Thursday from noon to 8:30 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All proceeds from the sale will benefit the Mt. Laurel Library.
There will be a special bag sale taking place Saturday where visitors can fill an entire bag with books for just $5. The Friends ask visitors to bring reusable grocery bags, maximum size: 16 inches high, 13 inches wide and 9 inches in diameter.
According to Garofola, there are a total of four sales like this held throughout the year. Following this sale there will be similar events held in January, April and July.
For more information on the friends or to learn about how to become a member, visit mountlaurellibrary.org/friends.