Friends of the Morinville Public Library President April Heppleston (left) poses with the product of one of the group’s recent fundraising initiatives, a real fur teddy bear that was raffled during the holiday season. – Morinville News File Photo
By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – If you sit down at the public computers in the Morinville Community Library, attend one of the library’s family movie nights or borrow an e-reader to read the latest best seller, you will be enjoying amenities provided by an all-volunteer organization whose sole purpose is to help the library acquire the things it needs.
The Friends of the Morinville Public Library have been in existence in the community since the 1960s, raising funds for the library, applying for grants to develop programs and provide materials, and helping to raise awareness of what the library has to offer.
But the group dwindled to just five members last spring, the minimum number necessary to maintain their society status under provincial rules. That number is on the rise. The addition of two new members and another two applications pending will almost double the fundraising group’s number. But there is a desire to increase membership even more.
Friends President April Heppleston said her group is looking for two types of members at present – people to serve on the executive, which meets monthly, and members at large who would help with events run by the Friends, including craft shows, the Morinville Farmers’ Market, casinos and raffles.
Whatever the level of participation, a love of the library and a bit of time is what is needed. “A Friend is someone who appreciates the value of the library in the community and is willing to work to ensure that the library has what it needs,” Heppleston said, adding the fundraising group is looking for people with some new and fresh ideas as well as time to commit putting those ideas in place. “That could be a very small number of hours on a yearly basis, or it goes up from there. It doesn’t matter how much time they have to give.”
Executive members are needed to replace those members who have been running the show for a decade or more. “I’ve been the president for I can’t remember how many years,” Heppleston said. “It’s time to change me out. The treasurer has been the treasurer for 15 years. She wouldn’t mind a break. It would be good to have the executive over the next two years changed out completely.”
Library Manager Isabelle Cramp said she was appreciative of the efforts of the Friends of the Morinville Community Library over the years and is hoping more community members will join to help the existing members out. “The Friends of the [Morinville Public] Library is a great group that does a lot for the library,” Cramp said, adding the group’s fundraising helps her library acquire much-needed furniture and equipment as well as programing materials. “For the last few years they have helped build the collection for every summer reading program that we’ve been doing, and right now the Friends are in much need of new members. Anyone who likes the library and who likes doing fundraising would be a very good fit for this group.”
The group is welcoming volunteers at all age levels. Those interested in lending a hand or serving on the executive can drop by the Morinville Public Library and inquire at the front desk.