By Conrad Dudderar
The Yukon library could really use some new friends.
So says Head Librarian Sara Schieman, speaking about Yukon’s hard-working “Friends of the Library” support group.
Members conduct regular book sales to raise funds for projects at the Mabel C. Fry Public Library, 1200 Lakeshore. The group is actively recruiting new volunteers to join.
The Friends of the Library hosts its sales and meetings in their building at 510 Elm.
Their big Czech Day sale will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 7 as the group capitalizes on the large crowd that will gather in downtown Yukon.
The Friends’ building is that quaint, red brick structure – built by the Ladies Library Club – that housed Yukon’s library for many decades. The City of Yukon allows the group to use the building at no cost.
In November 1980, a human chain literally moved the library in November 1980 to a former bank building at 5th and Main – now Yukon City Hall. The Mabel C. Fry Public Library in 1997 moved to its current home, inside a former grocery store.
Friends’ book sales are on the first and third Saturday each month unless there is a holiday weekend that week.
“All of the money that they take in, they provide to the library to buy books,” Schieman said. “They usually buy our Sequoyah Book Award nominees every year.”
The Friends of the Library recently provided funds to purchase two new e-book collections for Mabel C. Fry’s Gale Virtual Reference Library – “American Decades” and the “Gale Encyclopedia of American Law.”
As soon as the group has a significant amount of money in their treasury, they vote to give those funds to Yukon’s library.
“They’re incredibly generous in supporting us,” Schieman said.
The Yukon Friends of the Library’s president is Susie Grimes, a retired schoolteacher.
“We support the community, which in turn, supports our library,” Grimes said. “The public library is a very vital part of this community.
“We help them keep their materials updated, which is extremely important to our citizens and kids who are going to school, going to college.”
Donations of new and used books are welcome.
The Friends’ group provides affordable books to citizens living in Yukon retirement homes while giving others to correctional facilities.
Some books end up on the Yukon library’s shelves. Some are placed in the Ladies Library Club’s “Little Free Libraries” around town.
Other titles end up on the shelves of the Friends’ building for their Saturday book sales.
“They’re $1 for hardbacks and 50 cents for paperbacks for adults,” Friends’ Treasurer Tim Haga said.
For kids, the prices are 50 cents for hardbacks and 25 cents for paperbacks.
MORE THAN JUST BOOKS
Yukon’s Friends of the Library offers more than traditional books. They have large-print materials, audiobooks, DVDs, Blu-ray disks, and music CDs.
And the group does even more than that.
“We do advocacy – not only in our community, but with any legislation that involves libraries in general,” said Friends’ Secretary Sue Kilmer, a retired Yukon librarian.
Members have been instrumental in showing Canadian County Commissioners the value of investing county funding in public libraries.
The Yukon library and its Friends support group will not accept book donations from Oct. 16 through Nov. 27.
The next Friends of the Library meeting will be 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 9 at 510 Elm.
“We always are looking for more volunteers,” Grimes said. “We meet quarterly.”
For more information about the Friends’ organization, call Grimes at (405) 627-2537.