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As we begin our 56th year as Friends of the Hampstead Public Library, we need to look back on where we have been and then where we are going.
The Library’s mission is to inspire lifelong learning, personal enrichment and information literacy by providing open access to cultural, intellectual, recreational, and informational resources. The library provides a sense of community by connecting people and ideas in a welcoming and safe environment.
To assist the library in this endeavor, the Friends’ goal is to provide support for the library and its many activities while having fun at the same time. We are a 501c(3) organization that is entirely self-sufficient and do not rely on charitable monetary donations for our day to day operations. This is only possible due to our amazing member community and their collective contribution of hundreds of volunteer hours each year.
Our annual membership has been and is still only $5 per year. We now offer a life-time membership at a cost of $50. If you are a small business in Hampstead, your annual fee is only $25 per year allowing your employees to most of the benefits allotted residents with library cards. We also have a corporate membership for $100 annually and any employee can come to the library and enjoy a full range of services.
The Friends need YOU! New members are always welcome. Please stop by the library to pick up an application. All members are invited to attend our business meetings which are held the 2nd Tuesday of each month after our monthly program. Imagine the ways in which we could enhance our library, and make it even more appealing if every family, individual and business chose to become a member.
Friends are encouraged to serve as advocates for the public library and the important services the library provides for the community. Strong leadership is essential for public libraries today as libraries strive to meet the diverse needs of the communities they serve, sometimes in the face of serious opposition by single issue groups who seek to deny others free access to information.
In the past funds have been used for sponsorship of the Library Programs including the Summer Reading, the Adult Spring Read, movie licenses at the Library, museum passes and great entertainers that visit the library, just to name a few.
Amazingly enough, this is all accomplished through our modest membership fees, monthly raffles, and our extremely successful fundraisers such as the Elaine David Thrift Shop. We also host a bake sale just before Thanksgiving and have now enrolled in Amazon Smile, making it easy for our patrons to support the Friends by shopping at Amazon. We’ve hosted casino nights, group discounts to sporting events and even a play.
This year we are helping defer costs for babysitting classes, fund CPR training for the staff and our enhancing our ongoing successful thrift shop that soon will be celebrating 60 years of service to our community.
Like a New England day, the Friends are always changing to provide the best service to our library and our community. To keep up with what we are doing next, join us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/friendshampsteadpubliclibrary) and become a member and receive emails on upcoming programs, raffles, special passes and events.
In closing, I would like to thank everyone. Your membership in the Friends has been vital to the success of our library in providing the many things our community has come to enjoy year after year. We are so very fortunate to have a library such as ours, complete with a staff of talented, dedicated individuals, and behind the scenes, a great group of people who are aptly called, "The Friends of the Hampstead Public Library”.
Marcia A. Blaine