On October 9, the St. Petersburg City Council presented a proclamation recognizing Friends of Libraries Week, October 19 – 25, 2014, to the city’s Friends of the Library groups. Pictured are Mika Nelson, Library Director, Diane Sawyer from Friends of South Community Library, and Barbara Riddle-Dvorak from Friends of Mirror Lake Library. Thank you to Mayor Rick Kriseman and City Council.
As we head into our centennial celebration year, we will be needing volunteers for our programs and activities. You can help out at the Festival of Reading, assist at the library during First Night (New Year’s Eve), work with us on the speaker programs, help at the June book sale, and more! More details will follow when we get nearer to the specific events. In the meantime, if you’d like to get your name in, email email@example.com and tell us how you’d like to help.
The FRIENDS OF MIRROR LAKE LIBRARY (FOMLL) September 3, 2014 meeting was called to order by Vice-President Linda Sagese at 6:00 PM. The minutes of the August 6, 2014 meeting were read and approved with no changes.
Monika Finley gave the treasurer’s report. As of August 31, 2014, the bank balance was $1898.50.
The Maureen McDole author event on September 8 was discussed. Sandy Allen will get a portable sound system from the main library. Diane Drutowski and Monika Finley will sell memberships. Monika will also get refreshments. Barbara Riddle-Dvorak and Suzanne Chesser will be greeters and help as needed. We may use the municipal lot for overflow parking, and we will use a parking cone for Maureen.
There will be no November author event. Barbara and Wayne Finley are working with Linda Ramirez for an author for January 2015. Historian/author Nevin Sitler has not committed to a 2015 date yet. A new author suggestion is John Wilson.
Diane attended the August 13 Centennial meeting and emailed a memo and preliminary list of events to the board. The Centennial group is planning eight events per month. A new FOMLL idea is to provide a docent for library tours.
For First Night, Wayne will be creating a book. Possible activities for children include creating a folded cardboard model of the library and book cover making. The library may be scheduling a puppet show. Allan Loyd may ask us to provide an activity related to new African-American Trail plaques. Wayne also described an idea for the following year—creating boats with lights to float on Mirror Lake.
Wayne listed ideas for FOMLL Centennial activities: four author events, book sale, a photography event, and display cases with artifacts.
Carefest 2014 on September 27 was discussed, and Diane will send a request for people who are interested. We will definitely participate in Carefest 2015. (POST NOTE: the Friends decided to postpone this until 2015.)
Wayne passed a sample of a proposed new handout for future author events. He will add web site and Facebook page information and provide them for the next event.
After the author event on September 8, FOMML bags will be sold for $5.
Good evening Council Members:
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts on a subject dear to me, the support of our community libraries. My name is Wayne Finley, and I live at 309 16th Ave NE in St. Petersburg. I am here tonight as president of the Friends of Mirror Lake Library.
I have looked at your proposed budget, and I was pleased to see that you have included $43K for enhancements to our libraries for technology upgrades, which I understand includes computers, something that is very important to us at the Mirror Lake Library for we were at the bottom of the pile for wait time to get onto a computer, with our patrons having a typical 1-hr wait to get access.
But I am here to ask you to consider more.
In particular, we need our libraries open longer hours and on Sundays. The library system has been transitioning our libraries from being known as branch libraries to community libraries, a positive step towards recognizing that libraries are transitioning from traditional libraries to community hubs which function as not just learning environments that serve our communities, but representing that they can act as places for citizens to meet, engage and learn, to enter into collaborative and co-working relationships to develop new businesses, to teach early reading skills, to provide safe environments for children and teens, and for all of us to develop new skills to become a better fit for today’s workplace and to find greater civic engagement.
Joining a Friends group is one such example. The Friends of Mirror Lake Library just celebrated its 3rd year as an incorporated entity, and in those three years, we have raised and spent over $10,000 in support of our library and have held events that have brought hundreds of new patrons to it.
We host a quarterly author series, and since 2011 have welcomed 9 authors that have drawn in over 300 hundred folks from throughout our community.
In 2012 we sponsored a plein air art event that saw 20 artists painting among the grounds and providing us with a collection of beautiful new original artwork that showcases our beautiful gem.
And each summer we have sponsored the youth at Mirror Lake Library who participate in the Youth Summer Reading Program.
These are just a few of the ways we have worked to encourage folks within the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods to “Reconnect and Reacquaint” themselves with our library, but it can be difficult due to closing times too early – Mirror Lake only stays open until 7pm two nights a week, and the fact that our community library isn’t open on Sunday when many residents are interested in visiting.
Our libraries have been one of the hardest hit when the last economic downturn hit the nation, and saw some of the deepest cuts – some elements in excess of nearly 60 percent from what had been. Personnel have been cut to the bone, and our infrastructure is in need of rehabilitation.
Our library is in need of a new elevator or an overhaul of the existing one, for it is very slow and very loud, which effects how well patrons in the back can hear during our authors lectures and also gets stuck every now and then with people on it. We need new furniture, and even though there has been an influx of new technology, we still need more computers and the furniture to put them on.
I would like to remind all of you that Mirror Lake Library is St. Petersburg’s original library, and it is only public one for 50 years. The Friends, along with the city and various other folks and groups from within our community are working on a slew of activities to mark our 100th anniversary – in fact we are preparing a calendar of events that will host 100 in 100.
As part of this celebration, the Friends are hosting a fundraising campaign to fulfill our wish list, which we composed in concert with city staff. We will be looking to raise another $10,000 for our Dreaming Big Wish List, and will be asking the community to raise the match in the same manner as it was built, because the Carnegie grant of $17,500 had to be met dollar for dollar by the citizens – and they did. We are appealing to that sense of generosity and concern by asking folks to put up a match if you will to bring our little gem into the 21st century.
I would like to propose to all of you that perhaps the city would like to be engaged in this endeavor, and match the funds raised by the Friends to support this cultural icon of our city.
I also ask that you consider putting a few more thousand dollars into a fund that might help support some of the bigger events we will be hosting throughout 2015.
I will leave you with this tidbit about libraries I share with anyone who will listen. There are those who would say that libraries have become irrelevant what with all of the new technology and other outlets.
What I say to that is libraries may have become irrelevant to those with means; however, to the low-income earning folks throughout our community, libraries are essential for access to free reading materials, free events such as author lectures, and places of learning for their children through our children’s reading programs, especially our out of school time youth summer reading program. Libraries have become the new social service centers that no one knows about.
Well tonight, you now know. Thank you again for your time and I hope you continue to bolster our library system, not just fund it at its current levels.
The FRIENDS of MIRROR LAKE LIBRARY (FMLL) August 6, 2014 board meeting was called to order by President Wayne Finley at 6:05 PM. The secretary’s report for the June 14, 2014 meeting was read and accepted with no changes. There was no July board meeting.
Monika Finley gave the treasurer’s report. As of July 31, 2014 the treasury had $1722.22. Future forecasted expenses were $510 ( youth summer reading and expenses for next author event). Future revenue estimated to be $130 ( author event) for a balance of $1342.22. The treasurer’s report was approved. Wayne suggested that prior approval would not be needed by board members to spend $30, or less for refreshments etc. Unanimous approval for this suggestion was given.
The results from our June 7th book sale was discussed. It was decided that Diane will co-ordinate volunteers next year. Our profits were $700 or more.
New business started with discussion of our next author event. It was decided it would be on September 8th from 5:00-7:00 PM, with the speaker starting at 5:45 PM. Barbara has been in contact with our speaker, Maureen McDole. Barbara requested that Sandy procure a microphone for this and all future events, so we won’t have a repeat of hearing issues like we did at the Deggans event. A future speaker may be someone commemorating Gabriel Jose de la Concordia Garcia Marquez, possibly in January, 2015.
Our participation in First Night was discussed; children’s events will be provided as well as a coffee table book about the library for sale for adults were recommended by those present.
Diane requested a centennial theme for her web site be considered. Wayne assured the board that we would be planning our own events to celebrate the library’s centennial as well as the committee that Mika is working with.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:55 PM.
Acting secretary, FMLL
The Friends of Mirror Lake Library is now a 501(c)(3) organization. Many thanks to attorney Nicole Nate and Friends President Wayne Finley for updating our bylaws and getting us this 501 (c) (3) status. We received approval on July 21, 2014, but the status is effective as of January 21, 2012.
Section 501(c)(3) is the portion of the US Internal Revenue Code that allows for federal tax exemption of nonprofit organizations. It is regulated and administered by the US Department of Treasury through the Internal Revenue Service.
The Friends group is now eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions in accordance with Internal Revenue Code Section 170.