Thursday, May 23, 2024

Leavenworth volunteers bolster library and literacy with passion and projects

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LEAVENWORTH – The Leavenworth Friends of the Library is an active group of volunteer community members who work to support, promote, and enhance the resources of the Leavenworth Library.

The nonprofit group strives to fill gaps in funding, advocate for the library, and to promote literacy in the community.

"The friends is a group of women, or residents, in the community who have a common concern for the library's care," said Natalie Briody, President of the Leavenworth Friends of the Library.

Recently retired Leavenworth Branch Librarian Amy Massey appreciated the support of the Friends during her tenure at the library. 

"The Leavenworth Friends are hard-working, community-involved literacy advocates," Massey said. "They have fun while they share their passion for reading, learning, libraries and getting books into the community."

"I think that Leavenworth Friends of the Library are the people who strengthen the connection between the library and the community," Massey said. "They bring their ideas; they do outreach into the schools by doing an annual visit to the schools to promote reading, invite the students to a field trip to the library and give each student a free book of their choice when they visit A Book For All Seasons." 

The Friends support the library and community in many ways. They financially support special touches that enhance the library, such as furniture, toys, prizes for the Summer Library Program, supplies, annual parties, and treats like ice cream parties. 

They have constructed bookshelves in the library, paid to have the library painted, and each summer, they support the summer reading program, and the list goes on.

"The Christmas party for families in the community, we had like 84 families show up this last Christmas," Briody said. "It was just jamming." 

"We have so many young families in the community and you can start bringing your child to the storytimes when they're infants, you know of three months old, just to listen to the story by somebody else's voice other than a family member," Briody said.

As a retired teacher who focused on literacy development, Briody has a passion for promoting literacy in her community and that falls in line with the mission of the Friends and the library.

"When I was teaching, my 26 years of teaching, my whole focus was on literacy development, because I believe if a child can read a child can survive in our society or they can survive as an adult," Briody said. "Because if they cannot read, it makes it very difficult for them."

"Libraries are a space where everyone is welcome to find resources for a better life, a place for learning and sharing and feeling part of a community," Massey said. "The staff are there to be helpful with connecting people to information they need.The Friends are the leaders in making sure the Leavenworth Library is a great place for everyone." 

Each fall, the Friends hold their annual used book sale. This sale funds all of their projects and more throughout the year. There is a lot of work and volunteer time involved.

"Our mission statement is to promote, support, and enhance the resources of the public library to enrich the educational and cultural life of the community," Briody said. "We do this by encouraging appreciation and use of the public library, building a greater awareness of the library's facilities and expanding the role of the library and utilizing funds earned at our annual used book sale."

The Friends of the Leavenworth Library meet at the library on the first Thursday of the month at 8:30 a.m. 

"If anybody wants to get involved, we welcome them," Briody said. 

Briody hopes to see a younger generation get involved with the Friends of the Library.



Quinn Propst: 509-731-3590 or quinn@ward.media.

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