Friends of the Library Year in Review 2017

2017 was another great year for Columbus Metropolitan Library and Friends of the Library (FOL) is proud to play an important role in the library’s success. FOL projects provided funding totaling $141,200 in 2017, helping the library move closer to its vision of being  “a thriving community where wisdom prevails.”

Over the past year, FOL built on and expanded many of the programs and services it relaunched in 2016, from an enhanced Library Store to even more delicious food offerings in several library branches to bigger, more frequent, Big Book Sales. Throughout the year, FOL maintained its support for critical library programs that support learning and literacy in Central Ohio.

Our community values our library and its vital role in our lives. Friends should be proud that their FOL membership supports this treasured community resource, extending its reach and impact.


The Library Store

FOL has continued to expand and refine the selection of merchandise appealing to bookworms and library lovers of all ages. Posters, apparel and a wide range of unique handmade items as well as a selection of gently used books are available to purchase in The Library Store at Main Library. Strong sales from the library community, including our Friends and Fans, made for a successful 2017. Friends receive a discount on all purchases at The Library Store.

Big Book Sale expanded

Due to popular demand, the Big Book Sale was held twice in 2017 in both the fall and spring. Sales and attendance continued to climb, with a total of more than 18,000 items sold, including used books for children and teens, fiction, cookbooks, biographies, specialty books, DVDs and library merchandise. Proceeds from the sale enable FOL to support library programs and special initiatives. Friends receive early admission to the Big Book Sale. FOL plans to again hold two sales in 2018, with the first sale planned for April 2018. Be on the lookout for specific dates and times to be announced soon!

Library Cafes: Annie Maude’s Café and Carnegie’s Café

FOL was thrilled to welcome Annie Maude’s Café to the newly opened Northside Branch in June 2017. The Café is an expansion of Freedom a la Cart’s mission-driven business that brings hope to survivors of human trafficking so they can build a new life of freedom and self-sufficiency. The library café menu offers some Freedom a la Cart favorites while introducing new cookies, sweet treats, and seasonal pastries. The café also offers library customers fresh grab-and-go snacks and espresso drinks. Carnegie’s Café continues to offer Main Library customers an expanded menu of coffee, beverages, sandwiches and other light snacks, with plenty of welcoming seating inside and out to enjoy the food—and the view. Friends enjoy a 15% discount at the café.


Carnegie Gallery

The Carnegie Gallery hosted seven exhibits featuring seven different non-profit partners, including its oldest, ROY G BIV and its newest, Columbus Open Studio & Stage. The FOL- sponsored gallery showcases the best work of both emerging and established artists in Ohio. Reviews of exhibits were found in The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus Alive and City Scene Magazine. FOL funds support Carnegie Gallery exhibitions throughout the year and provide refreshments at an opening reception for each show, which combined welcomed nearly 700 people. Friends are always invited! FOL receives a commission from artwork sold in the Gallery.

PBJ & Jazz Concerts with the Jazz Arts Group of Columbus

In its eighth year, PBJ & Jazz at the Topiary Park proved again to be a popular summer concert series, introducing young children and their families to jazz and American music in a casual, interactive, family-friendly setting. More than 1,600 people enjoyed the four free concerts in Topiary Park, held in June, July, August and September. Many attendees also participated in the “bookend” events that complemented the concerts, ranging from the Library’s ever-popular family story time to the Columbus Museum of Art “Museum on the Move!” community-outreach and art-making activity program. FOL funds help support the concert series.


Summer Reading Club

Summer Reading Club 2017 introduced an online experience allowing customers to sign up and track their progress from home or from a mobile device. Overall, participation matched 2016 with nearly 60,000 participants, including students at over 450 schools. Adult sign-ups increased by 18%, and FOL provided a free book to each adult who completed the Summer Reading Program. FOL provided $10,000 in sponsorship to support SRC in 2017.

Teen Read Week

FOL once again sponsored Teen Read Week, welcoming more than 1,000 teens to hear Maggie Stiefvater, a New York Times bestselling young adult author. Stiefvater grabbed and held the attention of her young audiences and fielded questions from both readers and aspiring young writers. She shared stories of difficulty from her own life and encouraged teens to hear every “no” as a “not yet,” rather than a final answer. She also played her bagpipes — an instrument many of the students had never heard.

Teen Power Lunches

FOL funded the Teen Power Lunch program which pairs teens with CML staff and community member mentors to discuss topics like leadership styles, interviewing skills, conflict resolution, and learning from failure. The Teen Power Lunch program expanded to 23 branches in 2017, with nearly 375 teens ages 12-17 participating. Power Lunches provide an avenue to deepen relationships between staff and teens, helping teens develop life skills and discover options for their future.

Branch funding

FOL provides each branch with discretionary “spending money,” used to enhance library programs, build community outreach, and fund special projects. Whether it’s offering pizza to teens participating in an evening program, supporting a college fair, or sponsoring a teens vs. staff contest for Black History Month, FOL funds enable library staff to personalize the library experience for their branch community.

These are just some of the ways Friends of the Library made a difference to your library and your community in 2017. We are grateful for the support of our Friends and Fans and look forward to your ongoing participation and another wonderful year.


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