As published in the Red Rock News
“A friend in need is a friend indeed.” How many times have you heard that old expression? It has been around for a long time. In fact, some attribute its origin to Quintus Ennius in the 3rd century BC. In Latin it means that a sure friend is identified or recognized when there is a difficulty. But one does not need to know Latin to understand that when someone needs assistance, the person who comes to their aid is a true friend.
As president of the Friends of Sedona Library, and as a former librarian myself, I recognize how important Friends organizations are to a library, and this expression hits home for me. Friends of Library groups are also historic and have existed in the U.S. for some 100 years offering volunteer and financial support to libraries. The Friends of the Sedona Library, a private non-profit 501(c)3 organization, got its start 55 years ago, and we are proud of how we have helped Sedona Public Library succeed.
Libraries are supported in a variety of ways. Many public libraries in the U.S. are funded by the governments of the cities, towns, or townships where they reside; they are often their own departments with specific budgets. In fact, only about nine percent of public libraries are 501(c)3 non-profit organizations like Sedona Public Library, while most libraries, municipal or independent, have Friends groups. Andrew Carnegie, the Scottish American businessman and philanthropist, funded the construction of 2,500 libraries in the U.S. from 1883 to 1929 with the caveat that the municipalities had to offer support to the libraries.
Sedona Public Library began humbly in 1958 with the work of dedicated volunteer community members. Less than ten years later, the Friends of the Sedona Library was established, and continues to be one of the key supporters of the Library. The Library receives the bulk of its operations funding from the City of Sedona and Coconino and Yavapai Counties, but also relies on the Friends and other private support from individual donors and foundations for operations and capital projects.
When you support the Friends, you support the Library. Individuals have contributed to the Friends for more than half a century with annual memberships and for many years by shopping at the annual book sales or attending fundraisers. Today, supporters shop at the Friends Bookstore adjacent to the Library or at their online store. Supporters also make donations or leave the Friends in their estate plans. The Friends are then able to provide support to the Library including an annual grant for general use as well as small grants for special projects, programs, and capital improvements.
Selling books is one of the most important ways that the Friends support the Library. The Friends Bookstore on White Bear Road will celebrate its 5th anniversary in June of this year. Book donations to the Library make up the majority of store’s inventory, and it really is the best bookstore in Sedona. Since inception, the Friends have provided more than $2 million in support to the Library from book sales and membership dues.
Residents and visitors alike marvel at the stunning library building on White Bear Road. Over the years many tourists have made contributions in appreciation of the Library’s services, and they often purchase a bundle of books from the Bookstore. Some have even become members of the Friends despite not being full-time residents. They know the value of library services firsthand, and they understand that every library needs additional financial support.
This year, as we celebrate our 55th anniversary, we invite you to join us in helping Sedona Public Library continue to thrive. You can become a Friend of the Sedona Library for as little as $15. Or you can make a donation at three convenient locations and online. Stop by the Bookstore at 3270 White Bear Road, adjacent to the Library; the Village Library at 25 W. Saddlehorn Road in the Village of Oak Creek; or visit sedonalibrary.org/friends. By doing so, you will become that “friend indeed!”
Sedona Public Library
Column for February 11, 2022
Written by David Keeber
Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News.