The Friends of the Wauconda Area Library has been of service to the library since 1958 as a non-for-profit membership organization of caring community members who give gifts of time, energy, ideas and financial support to the library.
The Friends of the Library have played an important role in the library's history. In a letter to all its members in 1965, the purposes of the organization were listed:
- To maintain an association of persons interested in libraries;
- To focus public attention on the Library
- To stimulate the use of the Library's resources and services;
- To receive and encourage gifts, endowments and bequests to the Library.
- To support and cooperate with the Library in developing its services and facilities for the community.
The Friends of the Library organization has had numerous lives throughout the library's history, all of which played important roles in the library's growth. A revitalization of the Friends in 1995 provided the perfect resource for the people needed for the Referendum Committee that raised community awareness of the need for an expansion of the library facility. Their advocacy was essential to the successful outcome of the 1995 building referendum, resulting in the $5 million addition of the library's second story and the Genevieve Lincoln Community Meeting Room. That same Friends group donated the funds needed to purchase the beautiful 300-gallon aquarium that continues to wow all visitors to Kid City.
Since 2005, the Friends have donated more than $100,000 to the library!
|Year||Purchased with Friends Funding||Amount|
|2018||Gift cards for Library survey winners||512|
|2017||Summer Concert Series||5,000|
|2016||Kid City activity table||3,000|
|2016||Staff Association Expenses||1,000|
|2015||Summer Reading Program||1,500|
|2015||Touch-It Pro 84-inch Interactive Screen in the Teen Area||12,114|
|2014||Evanovich author program||202|
|2013||Digital Sign at front of library, near street||32,750|
|2013||Kid City Summer Reading Program||500|
|2012||Kid City Self-Checkout Station||5,000|
|2012||Library's Delivery Van||21,509|
|2012||Staff Association Expenses||1,000|
|2012||Kid City Programs||1,364|
|2011||Nook and Kindles||1,035|
|2010||Staff Association Expenses||1,200|
|2010||AWE computer workstations in Kid City||2,900|
|2009||Staff Association Expenses||1,000|
|2009||Home Depot Shelving for sorting book sale books||234|
|2009||Fire Place - 2009||970|
|2009||Artwork in the Cafe area||678|
|2008||HDTV 42" Vizio & Component Parts||2,623|
|2007||YA Program - YA Winter Reading Program||75|
|2005||Friend's for Monarch Books (Kid City)||440|
|2005||Open House Food||1,000|
|2005||Adult Services Prog||658|
|2005||Kid City Program||636|
There was an important revitalization of the Friends of the Library in 2010. The economy had been struggling since late 2008, and it was important that the library consider ways to bolster its fund-raising activities. More than 30 enthusiastic people showed up at the January 13, 2010 Friends Revitalization Meeting. In addition to forming a full-fledged 501-c-3 charity with officers, directors and committees, that group - under the leadership of Liz Harrington and Peg Shulha - worked with Star Runners to organize the annual Wauconda Bunny Hop, hosted by the library from 2012 through 2015. This became a community event that attracted nearly 1,000 runners and visitors in its heyday and raised many thousands of dollars for the library.
In September, 2012, the Friends of the Library donated $21,509 to the library for the purchase of a Transit Connect van from Victor Ford. The van was purchased that month. A full-vehicle graphics wrap was designed and installed in November, at which point the van was ready for service.
In September of 2013 the library switched on its new full-color digital LED sign located near the driveway entrance on Main Street, funded entirely by the Friends of the Library. “What our Friends have done is nothing less than monumental,” library Director Tom Kern said. “This new high-tech sign offers the library a very effective means of informing anyone who drives past about library events and services that they might otherwise not have known about. At the same time, it sends the message that this library is up to date with the latest technology — an important message for public libraries to be sending in this new age of easy-access digital resources for information and entertainment. We are very grateful to the Friends of the Library. Without their funding, the library would not have been able to purchase this sign.”
In recent years, the Friends of the Library, though smaller in number, continued to raise money for the library and to participate in or sponsor some important library activities and services. The new Wauconda Area Library Foundation is likely to provide new reasons for the Friends of the Library to perhaps revitalize yet again as volunteers are needed for a new wave of fund-raising activities related to the library's outdoor construction project planned for September, 2018.