By Jean Larson of the Lake Forest Library
Library Director, Kaye Grabbe notes “While the American Library Association sets aside a week in October to honor Friends of libraries, on the suggestion of a staff member, we decided to celebrate our Friends for the month of October. We wanted time for the community to see and appreciate all the Friends of Lake Forest Library have contributed in 37 years. Part of their mission is to promote the use of the Library and the Lake Forest community is passionate about their Library, due in no small part to the work of Friends. That is a gift without measure.”
Organized in 1975, Friends of Lake Forest Library had its first used book sale in 1976 in the Library courtyard. In 2012, the Friends made $122,000 at their annual four-day fall sale held at the Lake Forest Recreation Center. Over the years and with proceeds of 37 book sales, the Friends have given $2,000,000 to the Library for restoration projects, equipment, programs and services.
The Library Friends have helped refurbish the building’s Fine Arts Room, Business Room, Garden Room, Reference and Reading Rooms. They have supported the Children’s Library’s programs for children and teens, and summer reading programs for all residents. They purchased the Library’s first computer, a touch screen in the 1980’s and more recently e book readers for staff experimentation and learning.
Art restoration has been possible because of the vision and generosity of the Friends. The restoration of ten Audubons in the Reading Room, the salvaging of one panel and the cleaning of all the Remisoff murals in the Rotunda, the restoration of the art deco drinking fountain in the foyer of the Children’s Library, the restoration work on Sylvia Shad Judson’s The Apple Tree Children, the cleaning and restoration of the needlepoint hanging Lake Forest Flora and Fauna in the Business Room all were possible with Friends funds. In 2009 the Friends underwrote the creation of new murals in the stairways and foyer by Thomas Melvin.
While an impressive list of accomplishments, the best gift to the Library has been a more intangible gift –the Friends’ positive promotion of the importance and value of the Library to the cultural and educational life of the community. We hope you will stop by the Lake Forest Library this month to see for yourself, the results of the fine work of this wonderful group of Friends.