A community library is more than just books on a shelf, and at the Puyallup Public Library that message is proven again and again throughout the year in the handful of special programs that educate and enrich adults, young adults, youth and children.
But those programs would never see the light of day if it weren’t for the steadfast commitment and financial support of the Friends of the Puyallup Public Library group.
“Puyallup is a standalone library,” said Tom Joselyn, the library’s interim director. “Unlike a (library) system like Pierce County or King County, where you have a much larger budget that allows you to bring in speakers and programs, about all of our programs at the Puyallup library are supported by the Friends.”
In 2015 alone, the nonprofit fully-funded 15 events during the library’s nine-week summer program. Because of the Friends’ support, the library became a family destination last summer when the summer reading program for youth enjoyed a 20-percent increase in registrations. A total of 836 children completed the 15-hour summer reading goal and 843 children attended library events. Even adult programs last year broke previous registration records, boasting an 11 percent increase year over year.
We’d like to grow the membership, which allows us to grow the budget to support the library.
Neil Warren, president of the Friends of the Puyallup Library group
Neil Warren, president of the Friends group, said sales from the organization’s bookstore located on the ground floor of the library amounted to 65 percent of the 2015 fiscal year revenue put toward special programming expenses.
The Friends group membership dues amounted to only 14 percent of annual revenue. Warren would like to see membership numbers rise this year.
“We’re now at 90 members. We’d like to grow the membership, which allows us to grow the budget to support the library,” he said. “We joined the (Puyallup Sumner) Chamber of Commerce and the (Puyallup) Main Street Association to raise awareness. We’re at the Puyallup Farmers’ Market promoting the library. We’re prominent at Meeker Days. The whole goal is to drive funding.”
The Friends group will present its annual meeting and membership drive from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 20 in the Puyallup Public Library meeting room.
The keynote speaker is Chuck Fitzgerald, a Puyallup-based artist and co-founder of Valley Arts United, who will share news about the sculpture art in downtown Puyallup like his large “Heart of Puyallup,” located on Pioneer Avenue and Fifth Street. The Friends group will also vote for new Board members.
Kathy Warren, Neil’s wife and the Friends’ communications director, said the public again has the opportunity this year to donate to the Friends in memoriam of a loved one. Remembrances are noted in a journal kept by the Friends and available for public viewing and also will be published in the Friends’ quarterly newsletter.
“We thought it was a nice way to raise funds for the library in honor of those you love,” Kathy Warren said.
Annual membership is $10 for an individual, $25 for a family or $3 for a student.
Membership and donations are tax deductible. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.