ELKHART -- Elkhart Public Library is a loner no longer; it has Friends, and these Friends will support the library through a book sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Most public libraries have Friends of the Library groups that supplement their state funding. So after 15 to 20 friendless years since its last group ended, the Elkhart Public Library has reinstated a Friends group this year.
"Funding for public libraries only goes so far," said Deb Ehret, outreach services coordinator for the library.
Libraries often don't have money to spare for extra programming or community education projects. This is where the Friends group comes in.
The group has several levels of membership. Benefactors donate at least $1,000 to the library, while students and seniors can become members for as little as $5. Friends are encouraged to help with selling books, producing the newsletter, promoting the library and planning library programs, among other tasks.
In return, the library recognizes its appreciation for its Friends publicly and grants them first dibs at book sales. Friends of the Library can buy books two days before the public, from 2 to 7 p.m. Thursday.
The library will sell more than 15,000 books, CDs, videos and DVDs donated by community members or from the library itself. Money earned in this sale will bring in visiting authors or help develop reading programs for children and teenagers.
"The library is all about helping to educate the community," Ehret said.
To join Friends of the Library, sign up at the Friends book sale Thursday or contact Stuart Basquin, president of Friends, at 295-5657.