Friends look for friends

Published 10:25 pm Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In this era of digital media, there may well come a day when public libraries exist as memories. With the number of books available online, either for free on websites like Google Books or for a small charge via booksellers’ sites, the need for large buildings to house ink-and-paper tomes shrinks a bit each year.

For now, though, public libraries remain a vital resource to the community. Whether providing access to historical documents that have not yet been digitized or providing copies of the latest bestsellers to those who have limited access to them online or no interest in reading them electronically, libraries still are important parts of their communities. Even if their only mission were to help children develop a love of reading through group storytime events, their value to society would be established.

Suffolk’s libraries continue to fulfill their important role in the city, even in the face of the growing importance of digital publishing, and despite the funding problems that beset them as a result of tighter state and local budgets.

Email newsletter signup

One group that has proved itself especially effective in helping the city’s libraries to fulfill their mission in spite of the challenges is the Friends of the Suffolk Library. For years, the Friends have raised money to help finance programs that the city’s funding doesn’t cover. Their monthly used book sales have raised many thousands of dollars — a quarter at a time — to help narrow the gap between what services librarians hope to provide and what they actually can afford to offer.

With the recent lease of a space the Friends have used for the past 10 months to store their books and stage their sales, the organization once again finds itself without a home and without a place to hold its fundraising sales. Members have asked that folks in the community be on the alert for appropriate spaces they could rent at rates low enough to allow them to make a profit that can be passed along to Suffolk’s libraries.

As long as Suffolk has libraries, it needs friends willing to help meet its goals. The Friends of the Suffolk Library is a worthwhile organization with an admirable mission. If you know of a way to help, call 514-1024.