By the Numbers: National Friends of Libraries Week

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Did you know that Friends of Libraries groups have their very own national week of celebration? United for Libraries will coordinate the 14th annual National Friends of Libraries Week October 20-26, 2019. It's a time not only to recognize and celebrate Friends groups, but also to promote themselves in the community, to raise awareness, and to promote membership.

If you love libraries and aren’t part of your local library’s Friends group, you may want to consider joining. Friends of Library groups can be found in nearly every community and on many campuses across the country.  These groups, made up of volunteers, raise money and increase public awareness about their library.  Money raised by Friends groups support important library services like summer reading programs for children, author events, special collections, and new technologies. Some Friends work with their local libraries to get involved in politics, lobbying for advocacy efforts such as increasing the library’s budget, building new facilities, or even legislation that affects libraries.

Here are some statistics celebrating the support of Friends, advocates, and trustees courtesy of Alison Marcotte at American Libraries.

Number of years that National Friends of Libraries Week has been celebrated. The week is an opportunity to recognize the contributions and advocacy efforts of Friends groups and trustees, and to promote United for Libraries membership with such events as fundraisers, author signings, and book readings.

Year that the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates (ALTA) and Friends of Libraries USA (FOLUSA) merged to form a new division of the American Library Association (ALA), now called United for Libraries. ALTA has been around since 1890, and FOLUSA was founded in 1979.

Number of United for Libraries members, according to ALA’s April membership report.

Average amount that Friends groups raise for their libraries annually, according to a 2012 United for Libraries survey.

$3.8 million
Budget increase amount that Friends of the Dallas Public Library secured for its library in 2015 amid financial crisis. Thanks to the Friends group’s advocacy plan, the system was able to add employees and expand operating hours.

Number of Literary Landmarks across the United States that have been dedicated since the program, currently administered by United for Libraries, began in 1986. Recent Literary Landmarks include Ray Bradbury Park in Waukegan, Illinois, in honor of the Fahrenheit 451 author, and Harvin–Clarendon County Public Library in Manning, South Carolina, in honor of Amelia Bedelia series creator Peggy Parish.

Number of Friends groups honored each year since 2010 for their celebrations of National Friends of Libraries Week. The 2018 winners, Friends of the LeClaire (Iowa) Community Library and Charleston (S.C.) Friends of the Library, were awarded $250 each.

Learn more about National Friends of Libraries Week at the United for Libraries website.