What does a librarian do when she cannot afford grandiose plans – such as inviting guest authors for special talks or buying more books than the budget allows? She calls on the help of her Friends.
Not every library has a Friends group, but Kuils River library has been fortunate enough to be able to call on the aid of its Friends’ group since 1989.
The group was started by resident Marianna Bosman and has had volunteers coming and going over the years. Nowadays the group has six volunteers who hold regular fund-raisers, such as book and cake sales – and they need more hands on deck.
“We really need more people,” said chairwoman Alta du Toit.
However, if you are not keen on volunteering but still want to help build the library, you can become a Friends group member for R25 a year.
Members get regular emails about the newest books that have come in and vouchers for reservation, which usually cost R8.
Other than stocking shelves and inviting authors to speak, the Friends group has also raised money for bigger projects, such as the outside paving and the parking gate.
“If there is something that we want at the library but we can’t get the money from the City, we call on the Friends,”
said senior librarian, Wilhelmina Whitman.
JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, said there were about 1 000 Friends belonging to 55 groups across the city.
“Friends of the Library groups assist with various tasks or activities such as assisting with library programmes; activities promoting library use; for example holiday programmes; and outreach activities, as well as various library tasks such as shelving of library materials, mending and processing of books, etc.”