Robert P. Henry, a trade union worker who wanted to raise funds to help renovate the library, established the Friends of the James V. Brown Library in 1956. Since that time, the Friends group has grown from several community members to several hundred members who have provided support for library programs and facilities.
“An annual contribution of $20, or $35 for a family membership, is all that is required to become a Friend of the James V. Brown Library,” said Ardythe Cross, president. “More importantly, it helps support and sustain one of Lycoming County’s cultural treasures.”
Throughout any given year, the Friends of the James V. Brown Library give approximately $40,000 to ensure the establishment or continuation of valuable library programs. The Friends raise these funds through the spring and fall book sales, the Friends’ Book Store and through membership dues in the Friends organization. The Friends are major supporters of the Author Gala, Summer Reading Program and Connect Williamsport, along with providing funds for adult educational programs and Bonus Books to meet patron demand for current bestsellers.
The mission of the Friends is to assist the library by funding materials, programs and services beyond the library’s regular budget, encourage volunteer service, promote the value of the library to the citizens of Lycoming County, and advocate support of the library.
Members receive a bi-monthly newsletter with upcoming events, early notice of special events, access to the Friends-only preview at book sales, and specials at Friends Bookstore, which is located on the third floor of the Welch Family Wing.
Members of the Friends volunteer as book sorters, assist the library with mailings, volunteer at the Friends Favorites store, and plan and organize the annual book sales. The Friends will host the spring book sale April 19-21 at the Pine Street United Methodist Church.
In February, Friends members receive 50 percent off romance and craft books in the Friends Bookstore, and in March, health, fitness and business books are discounted 50 percent for Friends members.
The success of the bookstore, as well as the spring and fall public book sales, are dependent on the public’s continued donation of books, music CDs, audio books and DVDs. Donations are accepted at any circulation desk or during the Friends Book Drop-Off event from 12-2 p.m. Saturday, March 24. During the special drop-off event, Friends members will be at the State Street entrance to accept and unload books from your car.
Annual membership contributions are tax-deductible. For more information, visit https://jvbrown.edu/about-the-friends/. Membership forms also are available at any library circulation desk or in the bookstore.
The James V. Brown Library is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; and 24/7 at www.jvbrown.edu.