Foley Public Library talks strong year during Annual Friends of the Library meeting

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 11/11/19

FOLEY - The Annual Friends of the Foley Public Library meeting was held a bit differently this year, drawing a great crowd to the Foley Civic Center during lunch with one of their largest turnouts …

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Foley Public Library talks strong year during Annual Friends of the Library meeting

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FOLEY - The Annual Friends of the Foley Public Library meeting was held a bit differently this year, drawing a great crowd to the Foley Civic Center during lunch with one of their largest turnouts ever. The Friends had a fantastic year to report, with their Annual Book Sale generating more sales than the previous three years, participation in the library’s 2018 Halloween Extravaganza and the City of Foley’s Snowbird Coffee, book donations made to the Foley Elementary School, and a new partnership with Foley Dairy Queen where on the first Thursday of each month, 10% of the restaurant’s proceeds will go to the Friends of the Library’s Bookstore. The dates for the 2020 Book Sale will be Feb. 6 - 8: more information to be released in the future.

During the 2018-2019 year, the Friends helped by donating over $20,000 for projects to the library, including 20% of library interior painting, shelving for library, new rolling carts, Summer Reading Program, and library part time help.

For the first time ever, an award was given to the Friend’s of the Foley’s Library’s Patrons of the Year, going to Frank and Jenny Rikard. The Foley Public Library also gave out a new award for the Foley Library Patron of the Year, which went to Les Lyden. Followed by lunch and the awards, Foley Public Library Director John Jackson gave an update on what all’s been going on at the library and some statistics largely based on last year’s total.

“In a population of somewhere around 18,000 people, we’ve got over 15,000 registered borrowers,” Jackson said. “Our computer lab has over 29,000 registered borrowers, and on any given day our employees in the lab are assisting 35 to 40 people. They’ll have over 100 come in, but that’s how many they’re personally assisting.”

In 2017 and 2018, the total circulation of materials was over 369,000 volumes, whether paper or eBook, that went in and out of the library doors. Over half a million social media contacts follow or interacted with the Foley Public Library, while the door count for 2018 was 360,000 people.

“People come to our library and they’re amazed by it,” said Jackson. “For a small-town library we do a lot of business. That’s what I’m most proud about is we stay very active in the community, not just checking out books, but we do a lot of activities.”

Over the last four years, the Foley Public Library has been one of the top ten libraries in the US and has received the Gold Standard Award from the Alabama Library Association. The library has over 84,000 physical titles in the building and another 50,000 electronic titles available. There are 28 public work stations in the computer lab, all only a couple of years old. In Children’s Library Services, weekly storytelling, the R.E.A.D. Program, ARC Program, many Young Adult programs and field trips, and a dedicated Autism Spectrum Disorder Section are all offered. Also for the children is an extensive Summer Reading Program that takes place in June of each year. The library has worked for the past five years to build the Genealogy Section, with over 14,000 documents scanned into a database that is available anywhere in the world for research.

Along with the usual events and activities, the library holds two major events every year: the Halloween Extravaganza and Forward City Con. Special monthly events are scheduled regularly and can be found on the library’s online calendar.

“All of these things would not be anywhere near the level that we’ve been able to do without the Friends of the Library and their contributions,” said Jackson. “If we didn’t have them doing the things they do, paying for the things they pay for, and participating in the things they do, we couldn’t do this. We appreciate everything that the Friends do for us, and without them we couldn’t run a library that is in the top ten in the US.”

For more info on the Foley Public Library and to keep up with their events, check out their website at www.foleylibrary.org and follow them on Facebook.