‘Friends’ need help

Published 7:58 pm Monday, October 25, 2010

The Friends of the Suffolk Library are looking for a big heap of help, and there’s plenty of reason to give it to them.

Every year the organization donates about $20,000 to the Suffolk Public Library system to help with expenses related to the summer reading program, the audio-book collection and other materials and services. The money comes solely from selling donated books for deeply discounted prices — some go for as little as a quarter ­­— at their warehouse at 701 E. Pinner St.

The all-volunteer organization is able to give so much money to the library because they pay no rent for the building. However, that could change soon if somebody doesn’t step up to help.

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The building was purchased from its previous owner by an adjacent business owner. He let them stay there for about 18 months rent-free but has now informed them they must be out by December.

That leaves the organization looking for a new place for its 50,000 books and monthly book sales. They need to find a space that is free or “practically free,” Pat Gammon told me last week.

“If we have to pay an enormous amount of rent for a space, we may as well pack it in,” she said.

I remember the first time I ever went to the Friends of the Suffolk Library book sale. I was fascinated — I couldn’t believe so many wonderful books were being offered up for next to nothing. On that visit and several subsequent ones, I bought so many books that I eventually had to get an additional bookshelf. Now that that bookshelf, too, is full, I’ve stopped taking cash in the area of Pinner Street on the first weekend of the month. The books may be cheap, but bookshelves are not.

It’s even cooler to me that the book sales help the library offer important programs and services. During hard times, these initiatives might otherwise go unfunded. Even during the best times, the Friends’ donation means the funds can be redirected to other needs within the city, thus saving taxpayers money.

I’d encourage anybody who is able to help the Friends organization out. They’re not looking for anything fancy — they really only need about 5,000 square feet of open space, bathrooms, a little bit of office space and some parking.

Anybody who can help the Friends of the Library out is encouraged to call 539-5335 or 539-2141, or email FriendsOfTheSuffolkLibrary@gmail.com.