History of the Friends of the Rourk Branch
Contributed by Jo Ann Bass
Did you know…..
The first Friends of the Library (FOL) was started in 1922 in Illinois. Its purpose was to help purchase books for the library. Through their membership fees the group raised $365 in the first year. The same year another FOL was founded in Syracuse, NY. Within the next 50 years about 1,000 FOLs with 100,000 members were created..
Our FOL- West Brunswick Library (renamed Rourk Branch at a later date) was established October 3, 1988. A sign-up sheet and an announcement in the Beacon resulted in a very enthusiastic group of 18 people at the first meeting. Dues were $3 for individuals and $5 for a family. Through dues, bake sales and Seven Bean Soup Sales, the bank account grew from its original $177.
In 1990 Carol Jordan and Felecia Hardy came to the library. Some of you may remember one or both of these women. Felecia created her famous “Wish List” which included a file cabinet, vacuum cleaner, pillows, curtains and blinds, a touch tone phone, coffee pot, radio with back-up batteries a microwave oven, outdoor door mats and repair to the air conditioner.. Volunteers installed the blinds and curtains. FOL also bought and installed shelving for new books.
At this time the Friends paid to have the lawn cut on a regular basis. They also were instrumental in getting the parking lot paved. Apparently it was said to have been a muddy mess when it rained. The FOL membership soared to 263 members and the bank account was $1,884.
In 1991 a booth was set-up at the Oyster Festival and at the Festival-by-the-Sea to attract new members. Also a meet the Author afternoons were held at the Presbyterian Church.
It was at a meeting on May 23, 1991 that mention was made to enlarge the library. From then on everyone worked to that end.
Board Members and Library Staff
Friends of the Library Board of Directors
Membership Chair- Sheila Umbricht
Communication Chair- Kathy Sasso
Book Sales Chair- Terry Alston
Events Coordinator - Kelly James
Ways and Means Chair - Barbara Taylor
Grantwriting Chair - Suzanne Gerski
School Liaison - Karen Robbins
Volunteers Coordinator - Helen Pate