The Friends of the Library thanks the 220 attendees of our Book & Author Virtual Program on May 14, 2021, featuring novelist Geraldine Brooks and program moderator Susan Isaacs. We salute our generous sponsors for their community spirit and support for the library!
Annual support from the FOL is counted upon to supplement each library department’s programming and services budget. For example, we support programs such as Children’s Services’ Great Library Card Adventure, the popular Sandwiched In lunchtime series for adults, teen summer programs, the SoundSwap music series, the multicultural World Festival, and the summer “pop up” library at the LIRR station. The Friends is also the sole sponsor of the library’s popular Museum Pass program which provides free access to more than two dozen metro-area cultural institutions.
The Friends is the sole sponsor of the library’s “loanable learning objects” program, which allows patrons to borrow GoPro cameras, Orion StarBlast telescopes, musical instruments, Kindles loaded with e-books, birding kits with binoculars, virtual reality kits and an expanding list of other items for use outside the library. The FOL has purchased 10 Chrombeooks that can be checked out for use within the library, and also funds the wildly popular, publicly accessible 3D printers, the centerpiece of the library’s new “MakerSpace” room on the lower level. This initiative will also include access to podcast equipment, a digital sewing machine, digital conversion devices (such as VHS to DVD and vinyl to MP3 converters) and additional services as technology evolves.
The FOL produces its own special programming such as Paperback Swaps, FOL University lectures, and special author appearances. Our signature program, and sole fundraising event, is the Richard D. Whittemore Annual Book & Author Luncheon held each May and named for the first president of the FOL. To view screenshots from our 52nd Annual Book & Author, held virtually on Zoom in 2021 and featuring novelist Geraldine Brooks, click here. Unfortunately, the 51st Annual Luncheon was canceled in May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To view photos of our 50th anniversary luncheon featuring Meg Wolitzer and Anthony Tommasini in 2019 click here. To see photos from the 2018 luncheon featuring Alice McDermott and Russell Shorto click here. To see photos from the 2017 luncheon featuring Alice Hoffman and Paul Freedman click here (see 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010).
In addition, the Friends oversees the Ruth D. Bogen Memorial Collection, which is devoted exclusively to literary works of significance. The Collection is supported by the Bogen Fund, an endowment created in 2000 by a generous grant from the Bogen family and which is administered by the Friends. Since its inception, the Bogen Fund has contributed more than $65,000 to the library’s book budget, adding thousands of quality books, ebooks, and audiobooks to the collection.
The Friends is the primary sponsor of the library’s online initiatives, and provided a major gift to create the library website as well as funding updates and redesigns. The FOL continues to support new digital features. For example, the FOL is co-sponsor of free online homework help and test prep for K-12 students (in English and Spanish) via tutor.com.
The Friends also funds special initiatives such as new exhibit display cases, lobby bulletin boards, outdoor drop boxes, oral history publications, and materials for the ESOL program. The Friends of the Library Award is a prestigious honor recognizing extraordinary volunteer service to the library over many years.