United for Libraries recognized the Friends of the Grand Rapids Area Library on January 27 at a Gala Author Tea during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. The Minnesota Friends group received a National Friends of Libraries Week Award which is bestowed annually to two groups in acknowledgement of standout achievements during the preceding fall’s Friends of Libraries Week.
The Friends of the Grand Rapids Area Library coordinated a kickoff event with the City of Grand Rapids. Mayor Dale Adams signed a special Proclamation designating Oct. 20-26“Friends of the Library Week.” Library staff unveiled a beautiful lobby display thanking the Friends for their many years of service.The Friends went all out in promoting membership and book sales. “During the week, we handed out coupons to library goers for a free book at the Friends bookstore. This brought in many new customers. Once there, a variety of brochures and bookmarks on Friends work and membership were available,” said president and co-chair Carol Steele. They also offered a variety of incentives for joining up (or renewing). These included a drawing for one of five themed gift baskets. By week’s end, “we had increased membership by almost 25 percent!,” Steele said.