Friends of the Library celebrate 75 years
Raise funds to enhance building; sponsor youth poetry contest
By Marisa Mancini
For The Elmhurst Independent
The Elmhurst Friends of the Library Association was formed in 1941 by a group of 150 residents in celebration of Elmhurst Public Library’s 25th anniversary. Its purpose was to help the library in ways beyond the limited funds received from tax revenue. During its first year, the Friends purchased a number of valuable technical and scientific books. Members paid annual dues of $1.
On November 10, 2016, the Friends of the Elmhurst Public Library celebrated their 75th anniversary at their annual meeting. The entertainment provided was a look back to 1941, with a night of trivia at Wilder Mansion.
The Friends’ mission remains true to the intentions of its founders. Since 1941, the Friends have enriched the library’s resources and supported library programs through fundraising activities and membership dues.
“We are thrilled to be able to provide funds for projects and events not in the library’s budget,” stated Friends Board President Kathy Profita. “One of our most significant contributions is our support of the library’s annual Summer Reading Program.”
The Friends generously donate nearly $10,000 every summer towards this program which encourages thousands of children, teens, and adults to read during the summer months. Participants receive paperback books and numerous prizes for completing the program.
Additionally, the Friends have used their funds to purchase the outdoor benches at the front and back of the library. The group has also contributed towards the creation of the Children’s Learning Garden, the middle school seating area and the beautiful fireplace on the second floor.
“Another part of our mission is to enrich cultural opportunities in our community,” said Board member Jackie Crnkovich. “In addition to helping pay for speakers and authors, the Friends sponsor an annual poetry contest for Elmhurst students in grades 4 through 12, which encourages reading and creativity, and supports the arts in our community.”
Each year, the Friends receive 300 to 400 submissions, from which 30 are selected. A first place, second place and honorable mention winner is selected at each grade level. This year, the contest runs from February 1 to March 19 and the poetry reading for the winners is on Friday, April 28.
“I am always fascinated by the wide variety of topics the students select for their poems and am impressed with their level of creativity,” Crnkovich said. “We draw a large crowd and it is a very entertaining evening.”
“Becoming a member of the Friends of the Elmhurst Public Library is a wonderful was to help support our library’s resources and programs,” said Kathy Profita, “and you can join at any time.”
Members also receive an invitation to the “Friends Only” annual meeting/celebration held in November. Last year the group enjoyed the 1941 trivia contest in honor of its 75th anniversary. Contest winners received prizes including theater tickets and wine. In other years, members have been entertained by the Green Man Theater Group, the Elmhurst Jazz Band and celebrity cooking demonstrations.
If interested in becoming a member, visit elmhurstpubliclibrary/support-us/friends-of-the-library/.