Friends Forever: National Friends of Libraries Week – October 21-27

My first experience with a Library Friends Group, was when I was a customer service clerk with the Joyner-Green Valley Library. I had decided to go to the University of Arizona’s Library School and had enrolled in my first course. Unfortunately, I had to drop out of that first class because I didn’t have the money to cover tuition, even at 1992 prices. The very next semester the Friends of the Green Valley Library decided to create a scholarship fund for library employees who were interested in attending library school, and the rest they say is history. 

I graduated with my master’s degree in 1995 and have never looked back. Without the support of this group of Friends, I would likely not be serving as the Library Director today. They continue as the Friends of the Green Valley/Sahuarita Libraries as they are now supporting programming in this neighboring community.

My next opportunity to work with a library friends group was as the manager of the Caviglia-Arivaca Library. This small but mighty group of passionate individuals were the driving force behind the building of the Caviglia-Arivaca Library and they support this amazing community library every year with their contributions of time, talent and treasure. They are a group that truly loves their library and value the connection that it brings to their beautiful desert oasis.

The Friends of Pima County Public Library are celebrating 50 years of service this year and all Pima County residents have benefited from the hundreds of thousands of dollars they contribute every year to supporting library programming for all ages throughout our Pima County Public Libraries. This support allows us to continue with programming as we provide facilities, materials and services within our diverse and ever changing communities. Throughout my years as a library manager and now as the library director I have seen the impact that these programs make in the lives of families, job seekers, entrepreneurs, and learners of all ages. The Friends of PCPL provide funding that benefits all 26 library locations.

The Friends of the Oro Valley Library are an amazing group of individuals who have actually written the book on Friends of Libraries, well at least on how to hold book sales for libraries! One of their members coauthored the book A Book Sale How-to Guide: More Money, Less Stress. Their efforts have been nothing short of miraculous in contributing to major projects at the Oro Valley Library as well as supporting larger Library initiatives.

Today I had the opportunity to attend the annual meeting of the Friends of the Kirk-Bear Canyon Library and just like our other Friends of the Library groups, they bring a passion and true love of libraries, literacy and lifelong learning to all that they do. Without hesitation, they support the efforts of staff and continually look for ways to further the work of the Library.

Libraries across our nation are needed now more than ever to ensure that all individuals have the tools and skills they need to be productive citizens and to access an ever-changing world of information. Friends of Libraries provide advocacy and support to ensure that libraries continue to thrive and grow. Thank you to the Friends of Libraries members within all of our supporters here in Pima County – we are doing great things together!

For more information, see Supporting the Library FAQs.

Amber D. Mathewson
Director, Pima County Public Library