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Deals on older books and more help ‘Friends’ support the library

Nevada Friends of the Library members Jane Punke, left, and Jean Watts, next to Jane, assist a book sale shopper at the check-out table.


These days, virtual “friends” are just a click away on social media; but another type of “friend” — one very much needed in Nevada — is “Friends of the Library.”
Nevada’s Friends of the Library organization has been around for longer than most can remember, and many of the public library’s offerings that our community enjoys are made possible through the work and the donations of the Friends of the Library group.
Take this past year, for example. Friends of the Library has donated to or purchased all of the following:
•New skateboard rack
•Large popcorn machine for special events (saving staff lots of time)
•Adventure Passes, which are passes library patrons can reserve to take their family to the following for free: Blank Park Zoo, Des Moines Children’s Museum, Iowa Arboretum & Gardens, Reiman Gardens, and Science Center of Iowa
•Coffee and supplies for the library coffee corner
•One set of book club books
•A Story Walk book
•Speakers/special programs, particularly for kids
•The popular Book Page magazine – found at front desk and free for patrons
•“Beanstack” online service for the summer reading program (approximately $900)
•Conferences and/or continuing education for library staff
*Friends of the Library also usually helps with summer reading program prizes, but this past year, the library was able to secure sponsors to cover those prizes.
The biggest fundraisers for the Friends of the Library, according to current Friends board president Maryann Ryan, are the monthly book sales, held in the library’s basement.
If you’ve ever been to a Friends of the Library book sale, you know the sale offers more than just books. Book sales also offer puzzles, games, DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks. All items are sold for $1.
The book sales have lots of loyal customers. Among them are Mitch and Connie Gronemeyer of Ames. Mitch is a retired automation control worker, and Connie is a retired school cook. They both love to read. Mitch said he loves histories and biographies. Connie loves the authors, Patterson and Sanford. She also likes puzzles and often buys one or two at the sales.
“We love getting home with a full bag of books to read,” Mitch said. The couple reads and enjoys, and then donates a big bag of books back to the sales, so they can be sold again.
Kris and Debbie Corbin were present at a recent library book sale. Kris, a retired school teacher who is active in the Nevada Community Historical Society, said he’s always looking for anything that deals with Iowa’s history. Debbie looks for a very different type of book.
“I’m mainly into elementary illustrated books, children’s books,” she said. “I love a good illustrator.”
Debbie also picks up books for craft projects, explaining that she can use different parts of books in unique crafts.
Friends of the Library members help work at the sales, which are held the first Friday and Saturday of each month. (Dates generally run on the back calendar page of this publication.)At a recent sale, Jean Watts and Jane Punke were helping people at the check-out table.
Jane said her mother-in-law was a children’s librarian, “so we’ve always had lots of books to read. I love to read.” When she shops at the book sales, Jane likes buying a good hardback book. “I just love the feel of a hardback book.”
Jean, who is a former Friends president and current board member, said her favorite thing to shop for at the book sales is biographies and autobiographies, along with historical fiction. She also looks for books that might interest her children.
Both Jean and Jane love that the Friends group helps the library fund many items and programs that are over and above what their budget can afford.
The Friends of the Library group is in need of members and board members. To become a board member, you first need to become a member.
There is a form to fill out to apply for membership. You will find the form at the front of the library, where various pamphlets and information are located. The form can also be found at the book sales, at the check-out table. And, the form is available online on the Nevada Public Library’s website:
If you have questions about Friends of the Library, becoming a member, or becoming a board member, or if you have questions about the book sales or donating items for the book sales, please reach out to Friends of the Library at its email:

–Written by Marlys Barker, City of Nevada

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