As published in the Red Rock News
Misty Copeland, the first African American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, is credited with saying, “Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” Author Jess C. Scott said, “Friends are the family you choose.” At Sedona Public Library, our Friends—the Friends of the Sedona Library--are our family. I, for one, can’t imagine what would we do without them. Literally, the FOL (as we call them) have been a major source of support for the Library since 1964, and we simply wouldn’t be the iconic community hub that we are if wasn’t for them. I invite you to join us in celebrating their 55th anniversary!
In 1967, the Friends of the Sedona Library gained their 501(c)(3) tax exempt status as a non-profit organization with one basic mission: to support Sedona Public Library. While their volunteer efforts for the Library had actually begun several years before, they have, for nearly six decades, been the central pillar—the Friends—of the Library.
The Friends provide us with financial support, volunteers, book sales, and a vital partnership, and they regularly step up to support special library projects. They have been behind many special programs including our summer theater program for teens and our Arizona Humanities programs, and they’re often behind updates to our technology. According to Donna Hawk, who has been involved in Library and Friends leadership for over 30 years, “The Friends fill the funding gap between basic services and the exceptional. The Friends help make the Library shine!”
Equally importantly, the Friends offer advocacy. It’s not many non-profits that are fortunate to have another non-profit to support them. The true gift of our Friends is that they understand the importance of having a great library in our community. Longtime Friends’ volunteer and board member Richard Sauk says, “A community is just not complete without a library.” I couldn’t agree more!
Not only is our model unique—a non-profit Library supported by a non-profit Friends—but there are few non-profit organizations that operate solely on volunteer labor. The Friends of the Sedona Library are a stellar example of a 100% volunteer organization. With no overhead for personnel and no facilities expenses (the Library takes care of their building), they can direct nearly 100% of their revenue to the Library. Being the savvy organization that they are, they have evolved to successfully improve their revenue streams over these many years.
The Friends Book Store will celebrate its 5th year of business next June. These past years they have been our neighbors and have provided the community with what, I believe, is the best bookstore in the area. Prior to moving next door, the Friends occupied a book sale area within the Library and held large annual book sale events. Now, the revenue from the store (along with their Amazon book sales) provides a dramatically improved funding base for them to meet their mission.
The FOL has always been a membership organization, and for as little as $15 you can also become a member. For this upcoming anniversary year, your membership also provides a 15% discount at the bookstore! They (and we) are hoping that 2022 will see lots of new members, and we support them in that effort. If 3,000 community members or Library cardholders become members, they’ll meet their 55th anniversary goal of $55,000!
The full mission of the Friends is: “We provide support to the Sedona Public Library in order to encourage literacy, learning, and to enhance public access to information and knowledge.” In the last 20 years alone, the Friends have provided more than $2 million dollars to Sedona Public Library. Their support, along with the support we receive from the City of Sedona, Yavapai and Coconino Counties, and you, allows us to be the excellent Sedona institution you rely on. The Friends of Sedona Library are here for us, and that means they’re here for you. It isn’t just rhetoric. Really, what would we do without our Friends?
I encourage you to join the Friends, and the Library, in celebrating the power of partnership. If you use the Library or if your support our mission, please become a Friend. Merriam-Webster’s define a friend as “a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another person.” If you like the Library and trust us to provide programs and services that support this community, let’s be Friends! Join for as little as $15 (or $25 for an entire family!). And remember, Friends memberships make great gifts!
Let’s build a network that works together to build a community of passionate Friends and neighbors. And do consider putting a few under the tree—help your friends be a Friend—and join us to reach the goal of 3,000 new Friends of the Sedona Library celebrating 55 years.
Visit sedonalibrary.org to become a member of the Friends and to make a direct gift to the Library. Both are welcome and appreciated. Or stop by! Introduce yourself! Let’s be Friends! In West Sedona visit the Library at 3250 White Bear Rd., and the Book Store at 3270 White Bear Rd. In the Village you’ll find our new Library branch at 25 W. Saddlehorn Rd.
Sedona Public Library
Column for 12/17/21
Written by Judy Poe, Library Director
Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News.