Herald JournalHerald Journal, March 8, 2004

HL library looks for support to re-establish ‘friends’ group

By Cindy Zitzloff

To mark 25 years of service, the the Howard Lake Public Library is hoping to re-establish a new “Friends of the Library” group, reminiscent of years ago.

To this end, there will be an organizational meeting at the library Saturday, March 13, at 2 p.m.

Local library supporters are excited about its future and would like the public’s help and support in this organization to renew itself, not only with new members but with former members.

“There had been a friends group for the Howard Lake Public Library that was established years ago but it has been disbanded, so to speak, and many friendships and ties to the library were formed, and are still present today,” commented Barb Peterson, Howard Lake Public Library branch librarian.

The former friends group had many vibrant supporters including the city council members.

“Before my time with the group, back in the ‘40s and ‘50s, book clubs were the big thing. It would be nice to get enough people to raise money so that a book club could be re-established,” said past member and former Howard Lake Library, Club President Sharon Dalbec.

“I’m proud of our library and hope people will use it,” Dalbec said.

The group did many fun things such as children story time, putting on sales, decorating for Christmas, and even had sponsored speakers such as a guest speaker for “Little House on the Prairie.”

The group also helped build awareness and raised funds to help build the current library building.

“From the photo albums that previous librarians maintained, it looks like there is a rich history that we should preserve and a future that we want to insure,” said Peterson.

Many communities nationwide have a friends of the library group.

Traditionally, the group is a voluntary non-profit organization that is involved in fundraising activities, public relations, and is dedicated to enhancing and improving library services to communities.

“I feel the groups in the past did a great deal for the library and hope a new group will provide support, both moral and monetary, along with work skills for those things the library may need,” said Sue Claessen, a supporter of the group.

“I have used the library since I was in the sixth grade,” Claessen said. “The librarian at that time was Marge Rausch. She was a great lady and really instilled a love for the library.”

“I remember first looking at the card catalog and being in awe of it,” Claessen said. “Even though I wasn’t involved with the original friends group, I certainly appreciate their dedication, and hope we can continue in that tradition.”

Ideas for possible mission statements could consist of providing moral and financial support to the Howard Lake Public Library, improving the patron experience with the Howard Lake Public Library, informing area residents of the multitude of products and services offered by the Howard Lake Public Library, and continuing the far reaching vision of excellence started more than 25 years ago by the original Friends of the Library group, Claessen said.

Supporters are hopeful that a Friends of the Library group is something the public will get excited about and will get involved in as the library has so much to offer, not only to children but adults.

For more information on the Friends of the Library group, please attend the upcoming meeting or call Peterson at (320) 543-2020.

The Howard Lake library is part of the Great River Regional Library system.

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