This fall marks the silver anniversary of Friends of the Hutchinson Public Library. The first organizational meeting of the “Friends of the Library” was held on Monday, September 11, 1989. The by-laws were accepted and first officers were elected: John Horrocks, president; Kim Tuomi, vice-president; Kathleen McGraw, secretary; Sue Munz, treasurer. Three major committees were established: Membership, Publicity, and Service to the Homebound. Making the group official, Minnesota Secretary of State, Joan Growe, signed the official certificate of incorporation on October 27, 1989.
In 1990 Friends began sponsoring “Project Bookshelf,” a program initiated by Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Marlene Johnson to collect new books (not just toys) as holiday gifts. These books were then distributed through Social Services to local children in need. Hutchinson Friends member Jo Ellen Kimball headed up the first Project Bookshelf. It is interesting to note that Project Bookshelf is still rolled out each holiday season as collection boxes for new books are now out in the local elementary schools, as well as, the Hutchinson Library. Cash donations to purchase new books for this program are also accepted.
From its inception, the Hutchinson Friends of the Library adopted used book sales as a major fundraiser. Receipts from the first Arts and Crafts book sale in 1990 were $305.00. Both indoor and outdoor used book sales are still going strong and total receipts in 2014 were over $10,000.00! As in 1990, the majority of these funds are earmarked for the library’s audio book and DVD collections. The library welcomes donations of gently used DVD’s, audio books, hard cover and paperback books in good condition. Textbooks, encyclopedias, and Readers’ Digests books generally do not have resale value, so we prefer that these types of books are recycled or donated to another entity.
The Hutchinson Friends sponsor other projects including Books for Newborns, National Library Week Activities, Adult Winter Reading Program, Author Visits, Children’s Summer Reading Program, computer and other technology purchases, School Readiness books, an annual subscription to the readers’ advisory publication Book Pages, and much more.
Today Hutchinson Public Friends boasts 55 individual, family, or organizational members, including a very active group of volunteers who meet weekly to sort, process, and price used books for resale. One more thing, the Hutchinson Friends’ dues have not increased in over 25 years, which makes this organization one of the best deals in town! Today, as in 1989, the price of a family/individual membership is $10.00, organizations are $25.00, and an individual life member is $100.00. This entitles members to a free annual subscription to Inklings, the Hutchinson Friends quarterly newsletter, and all kinds of opportunities to volunteer and connect with old friends or make new ones.
If you are interested in joining the Hutchinson Library Friends group feel free to contact Pam Dille, head librarian, at 320-587-2368 or firstname.lastname@example.org