TOWNSEND -- New museum passes, program fees, iPads and other technology are at the Townsend Public Library thanks to some friends. Good friends. Last year, these supporters raised and spent about $10,000.
"I think we were all shocked when we added it up," said Bob Harrison, president of the Friends.
During the board meeting on Jan. 30, the Friends agreed to purchase a pass to the Tower Hill Botanical Garden, pay for part of the fee for a pastel class, and pay for an iris-folding workshop and a garden talk.
Raising money to pay for these expenses is part of the Friends' role. An ongoing book sale at the library generates about $100 each month, Harrison said, but the main fundraisers are the semi-annual book sales. The next big sale is scheduled for the weekend of May 10, along with a plant sale.
Every little bit counts. The Friends are planning to sell craft materials on March 2 and March 3, may schedule a sale of goods made by the members of the Fiber Frenzy and knitting groups that meet at the library and may even hold a Halloween costume sale.
Townsend photographer Aaron Corn offered to hold a photo fundraiser. Potentially, the event could raise $1,200 for the library and give families a chance to get a professional photograph taken at a reduced cost, he said. All the library needs to do is provide the space and post a signup sheet.
"I guess the positive is there is no financial cost to you to do it," the owner of portraitEFX in Townsend said.
"It certainly seems like a good deal," said board member Karen Waxman. The Friends agreed to hold the event and allow Library Director Stacy Schuttler to plan it.
"We're good to go," Harrison said.
Other revenue comes in through grants. The Friends received a $3,000 grant from Harrison's employer, IBM, in December. Most of the money is already spent on technology needs and programming; three refurbished iPads with protective covers and software, a rolling television cart, a TV/DVD player and two childrens' programs have been funded.
The established group could use more help. "We need board members," Harrison said. He is planning on leaving his position as president next year after serving a three-year term. Secretary Melissa Hermann recently resigned from her position.
Serving on the Friends is fun, Harrison said. "The Friends is different. The Friends is cool because it's been around since 1967." When he became involved with the library before it moved to its new location three years ago, some of the founders of the Friends were still on the board.
"I think we need more publicity," said Treasurer John King, to help get more people interested in being involved.
Museum passes sponsored by the Friends will come with an informational flier. The group is also planning a quarterly newsletter; the first one is scheduled for March.
Ideas for topics floated around the table.
"I could do something about finances," King said.
"I can do membership," Harrison said.
"You should write about why you joined," Waxman said to Harrison. Upcoming events, a list of passes, new programs and grants should be included, she said.
Be sure to include the woman who learned to spin on the Friends' spinning wheel and liked it so much her husband bought her one, King said.
New purchases, said Harrison.
"We have to make sure it's not too long," board member Carolyn Sellars said.
There was an answer to that problem. "That will be my job as editor," Waxman said.