For 47 years, members of the Friends have supported the Library, not only through their advocacy but through their commitment to provide supplemental funding in support of the Library's endowment, programming, and collection. In the past 15 years alone, the Friends have donated over $65,000 to the Scarborough Public Library.
The Friends officially organized in 1970 as The Friends of Scarborough Public Library. At this time the Town of Scarborough had a population of approximately 7,800 and the library, located on Black Point Road, was open only a few days a week.
A small core of Scarborough women met with a representative of Gorham's "Friends of the Library" group to learn the "how to" of starting a Friends organization. The group was described as 'diverse' by one of the early officers, who also recalled that some people joined the group to make sure their children had good library reading programs.
The original Friends Constitution outlined purpose of the organization:
"Maintain an association of persons interested in libraries to focus public attention on the library, to stimulate use of the library's resources and services, to receive and encourage gifts, endowments, and bequests to the library, to support and cooperate with the library in the development of library services and facilities for the community."
In time, regularly scheduled programs were available to the general public. The programs followed Friends meetings that were held in the early afternoon. While the Friends goals have expanded over the ensuing years, children's services and regular programs have continued to be an important focus.
In the mid-eighties, the Friends sought to establish a working relationship between the schools and the library resulting in a positive growth in children's use of the library and cooperation between the library and the school system that continues today.
1990 found the the Friends struggling to remain active. However, the excitement surrounding the opening of the new library building at Oak Hill served to reinvigorate the Friends organization. By the time of the Annual Meeting in May 2000, memberships increased by 130% over previous years and totaled 260.
With membership increases, the Annual Gifts from the Friends to the Library have also increased from the early $50.00 gift for a research collection in 1977. The Friends have made an annual contribution $1000 to the adult collection and $1000 to the children's collection during this new century. In the past 15 years alone, the Friends have donated over $65,000 to the Library. In addition, the Friends fund various items to the library and staff that are not included in the operating budget.
The Friends took over the Annual Book Sale from the Trustees in 2001. Friends now sort books at the Scarborough Public Works building and with the help of volunteers and Public Works employees move close to 20,000 books for the annual three day sale.
In 2016 year the Friends joined with the library staff as co-sponsors of Library programs.The Friends help to organize and fund events that are offered, free-of-charge, to the community. These programs reflect the interests of both adults and children with a special family-centered program each spring.
The Friends is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Your donations to the Friends are tax deductible.
Quotable: "The Friends celebrated 45 years of dedicated service to the Library in 2015."