October 20, 2022

That’s What Friends are for: Library “Friends” Volunteer Time; Fund Programs

In honor of National Friends of the Library week (Oct. 16-22), Virginia Beach Public Library (VBPL) is shining a spotlight on the unwavering support of the nonprofit group, Friends of Virginia Beach Public Library. For 46 years, Friends members have volunteered countless hours and raised well over $1 million to fund library programs for Virginia Beach residents.

“We are grateful to the Friends for their hard work, week after week,” said Director of Libraries Kimberly B. Knight. “In addition to funding important community programs, they devote countless hours to managing material donations and discards in support of the library, staff, and the community.”

Last year, 38 Friends members volunteered 3,502 hours, sorting library discards and community donations each week and selling gently used items in the Friends Book Shop at Central Library. Unsold items are donated to a variety of organizations, added to online sales and recycled when possible.

Book sale proceeds are granted to VBPL and invested in library programming for the community. In just the last five fiscal years, the Friends donated a total of $500,461 to VBPL, committing another $109,547 this year for initiatives such as VBPL's Battle of the Books - open now for fifth graders and middle schoolers, drone program expansion, and the annual Summer Reading Challenge, among others.

"Friends members know the value of public libraries," said President Nancy Parker. "Sorting and selling books is gratifying when you see the positive impacts VBPL makes with the programs we fund." Parker would love to welcome more members to the group. "We could all use more Friends," she said.

Friends membership includes annual dues starting at $10. Volunteering is not required. To join or find more info about the Friends, visit www.friendsvblibrary.org.

About Virginia Beach Public Library

Virginia Beach Public Library includes a central library, a joint-use library in partnership with Tidewater Community College, seven area libraries and a public law library. Services include workforce development and job-search support, small business resources, computer and technology classes, early literacy classes and outreach, and local history archives and programs. In addition to books, music, magazines, and movies in tangible and digital formats, the library provides online research tools accessible from home or work, and a variety of special collections. Visit www.VBgov.com/libraries for more information.

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Christine Brantley

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