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Friends Of Library Honored All Year in Bronxville

BRONXVILLE, N.Y.  --  When Bronxville Library Director Laura Eckley and Adult Reference Librarian Christine Uchtel wanted to give a small gift to patrons who celebrated  Banned Book Month at the library, they did not have to comb through the library budget to find the funding to support the program.

“Each year the Bronxville Friends of the Library gives us money to fund any program that we want to hold,” Eckley said. “In addition, they sponsor all kinds of events, programs, movies, the list goes on and on.”

Sunday marked the beginning of the sixth annual National Friends of Libraries Week, offering recognition to Friends groups that promote their community outreach programs and raise awareness.

While the Bronxville Library is not holding any special celebration this week, Eckley said she and her staff celebrate the Bronxville Friends all year long.

“We are so grateful to the Friends of the library,” Eckley said. “Without their tremendous support and involvement, we would have no funding for the programs and events we hold.”

Ellen de Saint Phalle, who is a member of the Bronxville Friends of the library, points to Executive Director Fern Watters as a great leader.

"Fern is so committed and all of the Friends are committed and eager to support the library in any way we can," de Saint Phalle said. "We are deeply grateful to the community for their support and involvement."

But Fern Watters points right back to the 16 member Friends group who raise an average of between $40,000 to $60,000 each year for the library.

"We have a group of incredibly hard working volunteers who do everything from fundraising, to scheduling of authors and events, arranging for art shows and readings," said Watters. "We are all very committed to the library and everything we can help the library provide to the community."

The acknowledgement was coordinated by the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, a division of the American Library Association with approximately 5,000 Friends of the Library, Trustee, Foundation and individual members and affiliates representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters.

"I'm convinced that the libraries are so much richer for the enthusiasm and expertise that the Friends bring to the Library," ALTAFF Executive Director Sally Gardner Reed said in a statement. "I hope that libraries across the country will use this week to honor their best supporters – the Friends of their Library – and use this opportunity to promote and expand their membership in this valuable organization."

Eckley said The Friends of Bronxville Library has her gratitude all year long.

“Every time the library hands out a gift, or hosts an author or screens a movie, it is because of the support of the Friends of the Library,” Eckley said.

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