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.
Four officers lead the 15-member board: Ardythe Cross, president; Chuck Featherstone, vice president; Nancy Berkheimer, treasurer; and Mary Beth Kibbe, secretary.
“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,” Cross said. “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’ Favorites Gently Used 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, Mango Languages and Bonus Books to meet patron demand for current bestsellers.
A membership to the Friends helps the library serve more than 600 people daily with its collection of high-quality materials, helps reduce the rate of illiteracy in Lycoming County, provides career information for students, gives access to online information for people of all ages and incomes, and assists all residents of Lycoming County in meeting their lifelong learning goals.
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 Favorites Gently Used Books store, 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 spring and fall book sales. The Friends will host the spring book sale April 20-22 at the Pine Street United Methodist Church.
Annual membership contributions are tax-deductible. For more information, visit https://jvbrown.edu/about-the-friends/.
The James V. Brown Library is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 24/7 at www.jvbrown.edu.