Friday, October 13, 2023

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston County Public Library (CCPL) will be spending the week of Oct. 15-21 celebrating its Charleston Friends of the Library (CFOL) group as part of the 18th annual celebration of National Friends of Libraries Week. 

The Charleston FOL were established more than 40 years ago, and since 2008, they have raised more than $1.2 million for CCPL. The FOL is a volunteer-run organization, from the Board of Directors to the sorting room and throughout the community at book sales and programs. Every year, these volunteers donate thousands of hours to make the Charleston community a better place to live, work, and learn.  

“As an organization filled with lovers of books and libraries, we are thrilled to support programs that provide access and equity for all of our neighbors through CCPL,” said CFOL Executive Director Leah Donaldson. “I cannot thank you enough for supporting Friends!”  

The CFOL hosts several book sales, staffed by hundreds of eager volunteers, each year including “That BIG Book Sale,” which raises tens of thousands of dollars annually. Each year, the friends use funds from these sales to make a financial gift to CCPL. The library then uses these gifts to fund programs and to provide extra training for staff.  

FOL day-to-day operations are led by Donaldson, with support from a volunteer-run Board of Directors. Board officers and members include President Carin Jorgensen and past President Susan Hoffius, as well as Treasurer Brandon Reid, VP of Book Sales Gail Golightly, VP of Marketing Amanda Bunting Comen, VP of Development Rick Kates, Sorting Room Liaison Susan Wallberg, and board members Rebecca Hoffman, Merideth Bonvino, Savannah Frierson, Ulani DeCillis, Breyonna Davis, Rebecca Hiester, Jaclyn Henderson, Lauri Moffet, and Dodie Marshall. 

“The Friends are a vital part of our libraries. I think most patrons would be surprised to learn how many of the services and programs they enjoy are made possible by the Friends,” said CCPL Executive Director Angela Craig. “They help our community in a big way and supporting them means supporting us.” 

This year, the CFOL are celebrating National Friends of the Libraries week by raising money for a vital CCPL program, Kids Café, which helps provide children-in-need with free, healthy snacks and meals during the school year. Thanks to a gift from a generous donor, all money raised during the week will be matched up to $2,500. Donations to the Friends can be made online.  

The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar & Ice Cream Shop in Mount Pleasant is also hosting a special Spirit Night on Monday, Oct. 16, from 3 - 9 p.m. Ten percent of all sales will be matched and donated to the Friends.  

In addition to these great events, there are several ways that you can help support your local library through the Friends, including book donations, volunteering, book sales, and more. Donations are currently accepted at the MainJohns IslandWando Mount Pleasant, and Baxter-Patrick James Island libraries. Please contact branches directly before donating as they may have limitations.  

One of the easiest ways to show support for your local library and our Friends is to just become a Friend yourself. Just visit charlestonlibraryfriends.org to learn about all of the ways you can support the friends, including how to become a member and how to donate books. You can also follow the Friends on Instagram and Facebook

CCPL will be showing its love and appreciation for its Friends all week on the library’s social media accounts, so be sure to follow us  on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

National Friends of Libraries Week is coordinated by United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association with approximately 4,000 personal and group members representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters. United for Libraries supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries, and brings together library trustees, advocates, friends, and foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. For more information, visit www.ala.org/united