When the Friends of Johnson County Library group was inaugurated in 1956, its members were already tested and trusted citizen volunteers. The founders, as the Citizen’s Library Committee, had advocated since 1950 to establish a Johnson County library system. Once a County Librarian had been hired and regular operations were underway, the group re-organized as the Friends. They have indeed been good friends and have worked tirelessly in support of the Library– as volunteers, fundraisers, political advocates – for the ensuing 60 years.
The Friends launched their successful Summer used book sale about 30 years ago, and have since opened used bookstores at 3 branches. The Friends, ever forward-thinking, established an internet sales presence in 2004. That year, 116 items sold earning $3888.22 for the group.
Times have certainly changed. The Friends reported nearly $140,000 internet sales in 2015. In June of this year, they passed the $1 million mark in total online sales. Items sold have ranged from the prosaic: an out-of-print insurance book that is still in demand – to the profound: the collected works of Sigmund Freud. Books have been shipped to 6 continents, and more orders arrive daily.
"Join the nearly 1,000 members of this non-profit organization that helps make Johnson County Library one of the best libraries in the country. The Friends provide interested community members with opportunities to invest in the success of the Library by donating time or materials. The Friends have served for over 50 years and our leadership in the areas of volunteering and advocacy is instrumental for the Library to reach even greater heights."
“You’ll never meet a more optimistic group than us Friends,” says current board president Rebecca Phillips. “But I think even we’ve been surprised at this level of success. Surprised – and pleased!”
Funds raised by the Friends support a range of programs and services. Among projects receiving support are the popular6 by 6 Ready to Read program, the Meet the Author series, the annual teen literary magazine elementia and the biennial Library staff development program Leadership.
Content, including video, for this post provided by the Johnson County Library [Website]
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