Everyone needs a friend. And the New Castle Public Library is lucky enough to have about 100.
During the week of Oct. 17, the library will celebrate them as part of the 16th annual National Friends of Libraries Week.
The Friends will return the favor with a special offer in the Book Cellar. That shop, in the basement of the library, will offer a buy-one-get-one-free sale on regular price books all week.
Since its founding in 1993, the local Friends group has donated more than $250,000 to the New Castle Public Library. That money is used to buy books and provide financial support for summer reading programs and staff training. It also has been used for the purchase of bookcases, tables and chairs, work stations and e-readers as well as an upgrade of the telephone system.
Money from the group has provided some big-ticket items, too.
“Our Friends have funded essential purchases such as our sprinklers and security systems and our automatic doors. We truly could not do what we do without our Friends,” said library director Carly M. Searcy.
“Library friends organizations have been a sometimes overlooked, but invaluable staple of community library service for well over a hundred years,” noted Philip Tramdack, president of the library’s board of directors.
“A good example is the Friends of the New Castle Public Library, which operates the Book Cellar,” he continued, pointing out it is “the only book store in the city.”
Because of a constant flow of books donated by library patrons and others, Tramdack explained, “the stock of the shop is updated all the time, and the subject matter is whatever people bought to read themselves. The result is a rich collection of books on every imaginable topic, including many titles for children and young adults.”
The Book Cellar, which is the Friends’ main fund-raiser, has more than 15,000 used books for sale – most of them $1 or less. In addition, visitors can find magazines, movies and music as well as costume jewelry, jigsaw puzzles and gift items, all at bargain prices.
“Every dollar earned from the sale of books is put to good use supporting the library’s programs and collections,” Tramdack said.
Marianne Hooker, who is the current president of the local Friends group, pointed out the book store is “a great place to meet others who share an interest in reading, both customers and volunteers.”
“If you’d like to make a contribution to your community,” Tramdack said, “visit The Book Cellar, buy some books, and consider joining the Friends of the New Castle Public Library.”
Book Cellar hours are 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays; noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays; 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
All money generated by or donated to the Friends makes its way to the library in one way or another. The group is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so donations are tax-deductible.
The Friends is always looking for new members. And while there are a variety of large and small ways for members to participate, those who join are given the option to be active or inactive.
Membership forms are available at the library’s front desk, in the Book Cellar and on the library website at www.ncdlc.org.
Annual dues are just $10 and a Friends membership provides the opportunity to choose a free book from the store once a month.
“As a member of the Friends,” Hooker pointed out, “you’ll join a wonderful group of people who are helping to support a vital community resource.”
“Just the name, Friends of the Library, is enough to make you want to join,” Searcy commented.
“Who couldn’t use a few extra friends? For the New Castle Public Library, having Friends is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity.”