TOWNSEND — Following some poorly attended meetings, the Friends of the Townsend Public Library will take the summer off to regroup.
Then, during a meeting on Sept. 9, they will meet again and see who wants to be involved, said Library Director Stacy Schuttler.
The feedback she received provided a reason for the low participation. “They were so busy it was really hard to fit another monthly meeting in there,” she said.
There is a solution that can keep people involved but not tie them up in more meetings. “Be done with the physical meetings,” Schuttler said.
“It needs to go forward,” she said. “There’s so much technology out there. There’s so many different ways to do things.”
Schuttler suggested a Friends group that meets maybe four times a year and keeps in touch via email lists where they can answer back and ask questions.
“It works well,” she said.
People can choose a project to work on, and get more involved while it is being planned and executed, then pull away when their part is done.
For example, Bob Harrison, a past president, and his son spent time moving books for the book sale. A core group of people do the gingerbread house day — shopping, baking dough and making frosting for the holiday activity.
The Friends raise money for the library, supplementing the budget received from the town.
“They do the asking for the Sunday hours. The Sunday hours are huge,” Schuttler said. This year, the library was open 13 Sundays, thanks to the additional funds.
Perhaps a little group that is part of the Friends could set up a GoFundMe account to raise some of the money, Schuttler said.
The Friends pay for programming and spend about $60 monthly on magazines. “The subscriptions are outrageous,” she said.
The collection has garnered notice. “I’ve had a lot of libraries come over here to look at our magazines because it’s so good,” Schuttler said.
A Friends-funded test preparation course has been running since before Schuttler was appointed director in 2010. The courses are free and full each time they run, she said.
Another group, the Townsend Library Endowment Fund, also supplements the library budget. Because they fund on a schedule, they cannot step up for immediate expenses like the Friends can, she said.
Once, the library tapped the Friends for funds to repair the copier. The materials were not covered in the budget, Schuttler said.
The reorganized Friends will be a way for people to be involved without a huge time commitment, she said.
“I really hate to see them go away,” Schuttler said. “It would be a real shame.”
Membership fliers for the Friends are available at the library.