Friends of the Joliet Public Library volunteer their time to support library programming and more

The Joliet Public Library Friends Book Sale at the Black Road Branch.

As National Library Week draws to a close, I am left feeling a sense of pride for our library staff, from the executive director to the maintenance team and everyone in between. What a truly magical place to work, sharing a love of reading, providing education programs and safe space for knowledge.

Our staff uses their expertise to serve the public, with their knowledge of the stacks, technology, creativity and more.

But there is another group of people that deserve recognition, and that is our group of dedicated volunteers and fundraisers, the Friends of the Joliet Public Library.

Friends is a 501(c)(3) organization that sponsors and provides funding for several Library programs and events like “Star Wars” Day, Summer Reading, and Robotics Club (many, many more included in this list). Recently, Friends has provided the Digital Media Studio with new computers that can handle the type of digital creation happening there and microfilm readers in the Local History Room.

In order to raise money for library programming and equipment, Friends helps organize weeded and donated materials, determine their value and maintain the ongoing book sale shelves at both locations. These book sales have permanent homes at the Black Road Branch and Ottawa Street Branch, so materials can be purchased at the circulation desk during library hours.

The Friends price list for its ongoing sales are $1 for hardcover books and DVDs/BluRays, and 25 cents for paperbacks, audiobooks, CDs and children/teen items.

Friends also hosts large, three-day book sales in the spring and fall, and popup book sales at local events, like KidzFest in August in downtown Joliet.

Why become a Friend of the Library? Besides helping out your local library and the warm fuzzies you get from volunteering, Friends has a direct say in sponsoring certain programs, events and equipment. It also gets first pick of books, CDs, audiobooks and DVDs/BluRays during the spring and fall book sales.

Friends will host its Spring Book Sale in May at the Black Road Branch. To check it out, visit us from 5 to 7 p.m. May 3, which is the Friends Only sale. You can join at the door and learn all about the Friends fundraising group. There is a small annual fee from $5 for seniors and students, to $15 for a family membership or $10 for adults.

If you just want to check out the sale, you can visit from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 4 and from 1 to 3 p.m. May 5. Most items are priced at $1 or less. On Sunday, fill up a bag of books (provided by the Friends) for just $3.

Friends meets quarterly to discuss fundraising ideas and set sale and meeting dates. The organization has provided more than $456,300 in fundraising dollars to the Library over the years.

New members are always welcome! Pick up an application at one of our library locations or online or email friends@jolietlibrary.org. To learn more about the Friends, visit jolietlibrary.org/friends/

For more information about the Joliet Public Library, visit jolietlibray.org or call 815-740-2660.