SIKESTON -- In an effort to enhance its services, the Sikeston Public Library is revitalizing a community organization that has, over the years, revamped its physical appearance as well as improve opportunities for local readers.
A membership drive is under way for Friends of the Library, an organization that disbanded several years ago. Letters have already been sent to some individuals, families and businesses in the Sikeston community.
"The Sikeston Public Library serves many ages groups with a variety of interests and needs. Becoming a member of the Friends of the Library organization will certainly help our local library enhance those services to Sikeston and the surrounding area," said Sally Lape, president of the Friends of the Library Committee.
Sue Tangeman, who has served as the director of Sikeston Public Library since 1998, said there's a need for a Friends group at just about any library.
"The group helps to promote the library within the community -- whether it be talking up the library at any meetings or helping with fundraising," Tangeman said.
Alice Jackson, who served as director of the Sikeston Public Library from 1986 to 1997, agreed, saying there's always room to grow and expand any services at a library.
Jackson recalled there was a Friends of the Library organization in the 1970s with the group being re-established in the late 1980s.
"The purpose of the 1980s group was working toward remodeling or rebuilding a new library," Jackson said, adding the library had received a matching grant after receiving a grant from Library Services and Construction Act. "The Friends of the Library then became the organization that went to work in the community and working with the library board to make this a reality."
Following the completion of the renovation in 1995, the group disbanded because their primary goal had been met, Jackson said.
"It is so heartwarming to know that we have a group of people now who are offering to volunteer their time to, again, work toward improving library services in the community," Jackson said.
Tangeman commended the Friends committee, which began working on the organization's reformation during the summer.
"Sally (Lape), Mary Crader and Nonie Fuchs agreed to spearhead this revitalization of the Friends group, and they have been awesome," Tangeman said. "We're most pleased they're available."
Tangeman said the new Friends group will likely help bring programming to the library, assist with the annual book sale and organize a major fundraiser, should the need ever arise.
"What we've always wanted to do is try to bring in people to do programming, and funding is always an issue. We have a very strong children's program, and we want to enhance the adult program," Tangeman said.
One service Friends will provide is making the community aware of the need for volunteers, Jackson said. She said volunteers would provide an addition to the library staff by helping bring programming and guest speakers to the library.
"We're very happy, and we're looking forward to lots of participation from the community," said Nancy Settles, member of the library's Board of Directors, adding membership levels are available for all ages and donation increments.
Members may join from these three categories: adult or children volunteers; children donations ranging from $5 to $15; and individuals, adults or businesses donations ranging from $25 and up. The categories are also divided into various levels.
"We hope people of all ages will consider joining the organization by volunteering or donating money," Lape said.
Information about becoming a member of Friends of the Library is available at the library. For more information, call 471-4140.