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The Baker Taylor subscription service, funded with donations raised by Friends of the Library, provides many popular books for Plumas County’s four branch libraries in Chester, Greenville, Portola and Quincy. Photo by Roni Java

Plumas County Library celebrates National Friends of the Libraries Week Oct. 20-26

John Lennon and Paul McCartney were right; we all get by with a little help from our friends.

Oct. 20 through 26 is National Friends of Libraries Week and we have a perfect opportunity to say thank you to a lot of volunteers who do wonderful things for the four branches of the Plumas County Library in Chester, Greenville, Portola and Quincy.

Nationwide appreciation

National Friends of Libraries Week is a celebration coordinated by United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association with approximately 4,000 personal and group members representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters.

Across the country this week, the dedicated volunteers are being recognized for supporting, promoting, advocating and raising funds for libraries and their programs. It’s a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century.

Supporting branches since 1962

The first Friends of the Library group for Plumas County was launched in 1962 and they got to work immediately raising funds to acquire and distribute books throughout the region.

Today, much of the work of the individual Friends groups happens behind the scenes and they’re a fairly shy collection of volunteers, on the whole, as a reporter discovered while researching this story. Most prefer to stay out of the limelight and diligently organize their projects and efforts under the leadership of individual boards of directors. Nobody really wants much credit, though they definitely deserve the recognition.

From lugging hundreds of donated volumes to their popular used book sales and sponsoring literacy and children’s reading programs to making purchases large and small for their library collections, each local Friends of the Library group makes a significant contribution to our communities.

Praise for Friends volunteers

“I’m a huge fan, I love them!” said Plumas County Librarian Lindsay Fuchs during an interview at the headquarters branch on Jackson Street in Quincy. “Each of these groups is a great organization. I appreciate what they’ve done for the libraries both before I arrived and since because they help meet a variety of needs within the branches and for their specific communities.”

She praised each organization for volunteering in so many capacities. In addition, Fuchs expressed gratitude for the Quincy group’s work pitching in to manage finances and needs for the Greenville Library because their own Friends organization is on hiatus at this time for lack of volunteers.

Dedicated to literacy and access

The librarians at each branch universally describe having great relationships with their Friends groups.

Fuchs also complimented the Friends of the Library volunteers of Chester, Portola and Quincy for all they do to support their own branch manager librarians.

She said the volunteers work closely with their branches to determine needs they can fill and also recommend services that are particularly helpful within their own communities.

Examples have included sponsoring movie nights (and paying the licensing costs to show the films), expanding current DVD collections, purchasing computers and maintaining them for patrons’ use, and even buying a large flat-screen TV for the Portola branch.

Other specialty services library customers enjoy, courtesy of the Friends of the Library groups, include the collection of young adult and juvenile graphic novels that are growing in popularity and things like jewelry making classes and special events focused on authors or themes, to name a few.

Fuchs added that Friends of the Library groups pay for the Baker and Taylor subscription lending and borrowing program that benefits each branch. This program provides purchased and leased popular books the library might not otherwise be able to offer. The Baker and Taylor books supplement each library’s own collection or help acquire permanent copies of volumes needed for Plumas County readers.

Quincy Friends of the Library

Quincy Friends of the Library has about 180 members and carries out its work under the guidance of a board that includes: Jimmie Oneal, president; Bev McColm, vice president; Diann Jewett, secretary; Linda Wallace, treasurer; and Directors Davney Gasser, Bianca Harrison, Ruth Jackson, Karen Jaggard, Stephanie Leaf and Judy Morrow.

Oneal credits the Friends board members for coming up with ideas for ways to support the library and its services, working in close partnership with the Quincy staff and the County Librarian. In addition, she pointed out that all of the Friends groups from each community work together to “chip in” on countywide needs, branch by branch.

The Quincy Friends group receives donations throughout the year in the form of used books and other materials, plus some cash that is often sent for specific needs that donors want to support.

The group sells up to 1,000 books and other materials at its quarterly sales, including the silent auctions of valuable, rare or unusual materials, and raises approximately $1,500 from each event.

They put those funds to work supporting the Quincy Library with computers (and upgrades) for public use, the Baker and Taylor popular books subscription service, sponsoring children’s programs and buying DVD movies for the collection, just to name a few of their projects. And they maintain the large sales shelves inside the library that are filled with quality used novels, cookbooks and more offered at 50 cents for paperbacks and $1 for hardbounds. Those sales are available everyday, thanks to Friends volunteers.

“I’m most proud that Friends paid to keep the library open on Saturdays for about three years,” Oneal said. “We got a lot more donations from doing that and it was a huge help to the community having those extra hours because it was hard for families to have it closed on Saturdays.”

Oneal added that the Friends group has also been instrumental in providing new window treatments for the conference room, buying projection equipment and funding purchases of more books for both children and adults. And she is working with County Librarian Fuchs on a collaborative project to revamp book services for homebound persons who can’t easily get to the library.

“Our librarian is such a wonderful asset to our county,” Oneal said. “Lindsay has so much enthusiasm and energy to make our libraries the best.”

The Quincy Friends of the Library is actively welcoming new members and volunteers, too.

Oneal said most of the board members are seniors and they would greatly appreciate some strong new volunteers to help with book donations and sales. It’s a fun group.

“We have a wonderful crew of people who are involved, but we don’t have enough help,” she said.

Volunteers collect, organize and set up the books for each sale. It takes about four days to get ready for a book sale. On the second day of each sale, Saturdays, other Friends of the Library groups are encouraged to come by and take any books they might need for their own sale events.

After the Quincy sale ends, any unsold books are displayed outside free of charge for the public to take. Friends volunteers keep those boxes tidy and organized for several days and any last leftovers are taken to be recycled.

Volunteer with the Friends

Interested in joining Friends of the Library volunteers who do so much for your community? The commitment is a few hours a month and everyone is welcome to participate. Please contact Jimmie Oneal at 283-9854 or email her at [email protected].

Support Friends of the Library

If you would like to support your own local Friends of the Library, the Quincy volunteers ask that the following guidelines be observed.

Accepted and preferred donations

Friends of the Library will accept:

Fiction

Non-fiction

Children’s books

Videos and DVDs

Audiobooks and materials

All donated items must be in clean condition and only gently used. Please do not donate items that are dirty, dusty, moldy, missing pages/pieces or in bad repair.

Donations not accepted:

Magazines

Periodicals

Pamphlets

Encyclopedias

Computer-related materials

Textbooks

Outdated materials

Soiled or damaged items

Friends of the Library does not accept donations during a book sale event, so please don’t bring items at those times.

Please do not leave bags or boxes of donations outside the library, on the porch or elsewhere. Make sure you bring your donations at a time when the library is open and someone can assist you. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated, thank you.

More than three boxes?

For donations to the Quincy Friends of the Library, if you have donations of more than three boxes, please call Jimmie Oneal at 283-9854 to coordinate your donation.

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