Parker County Today May 2017 - Page 78

Continued from page 70 76 On March 21, 1975, a groundbreaking ceremony occurred for the new city library. The land on Charles Street was donated by Mr. and Mrs. James Doss. The combined efforts by the FOL, the Doss family, and a grant resulted in the construction of the new 7,200-square-foot facility in 1976. In January, 1992, Weatherford voters passed a $600,000 bond issue to build an addition to the library, more than doubling its size. The FOL promoted the passage of the bond issue with an extensive campaign to educate the public on the need for the addition. “I believe that raising money is important but not as important as raising awareness of the library,” said Weatherford Councilman Dale Fleegar. “I encouraged them to be a positive voice of the library, and they were. I think they are an essential part of the library and their voice that makes people aware of our library.” The purpose now of the FOL is to foster closer rela- tions between the library and the public; to promote knowledge of the functions, resources, services and needs of the library; to develop improvement of library services; and to aid in provision of materials or equipment not available through a tax-supported budget. In 1987, FOL began their spring luncheons, still their main fundraiser. An interesting speaker, either an author or reviewer, delivers a talk, and a delicious meal is served to sellout crowds every year, and is very much a great social event to attend. So far there have been 30 consecutive luncheons with the 31 st scheduled on May 5, 2017. Past speakers include crowd favorite Rose Mary Rumbley who spoke four times, authors Elmer Kelton, Suzie Humphreys, Vicki Hitzges, Julie Ziglar Norman, Cynthia Ulrich Tobias, numerous reviewers, crowd favor- ite Jody Dean and Laura Bush—First Lady of Texas, wife of then-Governor George Bush. The luncheons have been held at many locations, including Couts Memorial United Methodist Church, which was the largest hall in Weatherford in 1997, to have Laura Bush, and most recently at the Doss Heritage and Cultural Center. FOL group started out planning the menu for the spring luncheons to coincide with the speaker’s theme, and each individual FOL member would purchase the food out of their pockets, cook it, serve it, and decorate for the luncheons. This changed to catered events the year Laura Bush came. The price of a ticket started at $5 and goes for $25 today. The group still spends a lot of effort decorating for the luncheons and planning far ahead to make it a special event. Securing sponsors for the luncheons began in 2005. In the spring of 1989, FOL’s Caroline Dickerson gave a $2,000 memorial in her husband’s honor that started FOL fundraising for the Summer Reading Program. Now the FOL funds this program each year. Sponsor items included in the Summer Reading Program are: special speakers on all kinds of topics; many book reviews; shelving and books; computers; electronic items; the adult reading program; annual book sale, helping secure donations for the sign for the library; promoted Children’s Book Week in the fall and National Library Advanced copy luncheon attendees choose reading material Week in the spring; provided staff Christmas gifts, paid the movie licensing fee; first grade tours; and recently gave a substantial gift towards the 2016 Library Needs Assessment. These programs enrich the lives and knowledge of community members of all ages. Crystal Brown is one of them. “I spent many afternoons in our public library when I was a student at Hall Middle School waiting for my dad to pick me up after he finished work,” said Crystal Brown, Coordinator of Public Relations at Weatherford College. “I would often select random books or search for books on various topics and end up reading material that I had never even considered. It helped fuel my desire for knowledge. It later became one of my go-to places to take my daughter. At first, it was simply to read stories together, and now it’s to help her with school projects. It’s important for her to see how to find the answers in places other than the Internet.” Today the FOL helps financially and with volun- teers for the Summer Reading Club, Young Adult Summer Reading Club, story time, Kick Off Carnival, the ice cream social, and a Safe Halloween Contest at Weatherford College, and of course, the annual spring luncheon. They decorated the library for Christmas each year and have Santa photo opportunities. The FOL is one of hundreds of similar groups through- out the United States that work to support their public libraries. Consider making gifts to the library “In Honor of” or “In Memory of” your friends and loved ones. Become a friend’s member today or apply to be on the FOL Board by contacting Nora Even, membership chair, at 817-341-2298.