Many years ago when I was a bright-eyed, eager graduate student, my mentor librarian asked, “Why do you want to work in libraries?” I had about forty different reasons in my head, and I quickly scanned through the list for the top contender. “To be honest,” I said, “it’s because I really love working with people.” The librarian leaned back in her chair, nodded at me, and said, “Good. Most of the time, people tell me it’s about the books.”
What I know well and, hopefully, you know, too, is that libraries are nothing without their people: the public, staff, volunteers, supporters. These are the folks who make libraries what they are. We have such devoted people at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, that we even have groups who support us called “Friends of the Library.” These hard-working, roll-up-their-sleeves, dedicated people sponsor all sorts of incredible programming and fundraise for the libraries they support.
On a gorgeous, sunny September day, the Friends of the Govans Library were hard at work throwing a Fall Celebration for the families in the community. Nearly two hundred people stopped by to enjoy the arts and crafts, live fiddle music, delicious snacks, wool spinning, face painting, and storytelling, all in the spirit of the harvest. This year’s extravaganza marked ten years of fall celebrations, each one the result of the dedicated Friends and their collaboration with branch staff.
Peggy Egan, President of the Friends of the Govans Library since 2004, is passionate about the importance of festivals like this. She writes, “The Govans library is a meeting place for the entire local community, and we strive to bring more and more patrons to our functions. We want the library to be a fun place. My own children grew up at Govans and I would like to pass that legacy on to today’s children.”
Councilman Bill Henry and Friends President Peggy Egan.
This celebration, like many others put on by Friends groups and volunteers at our branches, are a gift to the community and library alike. “The single most important part of the day,” writes Ms. Egan, “was the generosity, expertise, cooperative, and enthusiasm of the Friends board, library staff, presenters, and other Govans volunteers. Without them and their ingenuity and careful planning there would not be a Celebration.” I’d even argue that without them, we wouldn’t have libraries as we know them.
See a slideshow of photos from the celebration here.