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You’ve got a ‘friend’ at the library

Community

Posted: August 10, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 10, 2014 2:00 a.m.

 

The Santa Clarita Public Library has been busier than ever this year.

In the first half of 2014, our three branches have hosted more than 1,000 programs for readers of all ages, and attendance at library events is up by 35 percent compared to 2013.

This season’s biggest smash was the “Paws to Read” themed Summer Reading Program, sponsored by the Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library.

This year’s theme was perfect for animal lovers like me and incorporated pets into the weekly programming to bring each story to life.

The Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library donated $25,000 and hundreds of volunteer hours to help make the wildly popular program possible.

The Summer Reading Program is one of many ways the Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library adds value to the library experience.

So who are these Friends? The Friends group is comprised of residents who volunteer their time and provide financial support to foster a close relationship between the library and the community, as well as bring important programs to readers of all ages.

You’ve probably heard about or participated in several of the fundraising programs sponsored by the Friends, such as Antique Appraisal Day, Dining for Dollars, the Used Book Store, Book Auctions or Bag Sales. Each event is fun, unique and benefits a great cause.

One thing I admire about the Friends is they are always planning ahead and looking for ways to connect the community with the library.

This winter, the Friends group will host the second annual Gingerbread House Contest on December 5-8.

Readers can also look forward to programs and contests surrounding the third Hobbit film “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” The film is set to be released in December, and readers can participate in a variety of programs for the chance to win a free pair of tickets to a private screening of the movie.

The Friends continuously leverage skilled volunteers to make programs like the Local Author Celebration possible.

This year’s event featured 31 Santa Clarita authors who participated in a series of panel discussions and meet-and-greet opportunities, where writers could meet the public, talk about their work, and sell and sign books.

More than 16 authors were on the waiting list for the event, so the Friends are working on a second annual event for Saturday, January 17, 2015 at the Old Town Newhall Library. Applications to participate will be available on the library’s website in October.

In addition to bringing local authors together, the Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library regularly organizes and hosts author events with some of the nation’s top writers.

These meet-and-greet opportunities are always free to the public and have included New York Times and “best-selling” authors such as Jamie Ford, Alan Brennert, W. Bruce Cameron and, most recently, Yangsze Choo, celebrated author of “The Ghost Bride.”

The Valencia Library will also host New York Times Best Selling thriller author Gregg Hurwitz for a meet-and-greet on Thursday, September 11 at 7 p.m.

Hurwitz is a novelist, screenwriter, television producer, writer and comic author of “Batman: The Dark Knight.” His latest book “Don’t Look Back” will be released on August 19.

As our city volunteer materials state, “sometimes you’re made for more than what you’re paid for.” This phrase sums up the many Santa Clarita residents who tap their personal talents to give back outside their professional day jobs.

We are fortunate that our community is home to so many who are willing and able to make a difference, and the Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library is a prime example.

If the library, literature and learning interest you, the Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library group might be something for you.

Membership information is available at all three Santa Clarita Public Library branches or online at SantaClaritaFOL.com, in addition to details about upcoming programs.

Our libraries are the window to the world. Come and enjoy!

On behalf of the Santa Clarita City Council, I want to thank each “friend” of the Santa Clarita Public Library for your time and support. We appreciate all you do to help make our branches fun, engaging places to learn and grow.

Mayor Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at lweste@santa-clarita.com.

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