Friends of the Library benefits all of the Sun Lakes Community

Andrea Hummel

Being a Friend of the Library doesn’t just mean you like to read a lot.

Although the Sun Lakes chapter of Friends of the Library is pretty much filled with people who like to read, this group has so many more facets!

An important feature of the Friends’ work is the little bookstore just past the circulation desk. Named after its founders, Virginia and Eve, the store recycles hardbacks, paperbacks, puzzles and magazines in the best possible way; it makes them available for re-use by area residents for a minimal price. Volunteers sort and price the publications and shelve them. Magazines are priced at $.10, paperbacks $.25 and hardbacks $1. Used (clean) grocery bags are used for purchases and the store is entirely on the honor system with cash and checks deposited in a collection box in the store. Donations can be dropped off in the cart in the store.

The bookstore funds projects that benefit the library and the library community.

One of the current projects is the Landscape Enhancement Project headed by member Pauline Lee. Because the library has no irrigation system, desert landscape plants are a must. Currently Lee is working on adding a row of Ocotillo on the Riggs side of the building. She is also working on enhancing the existing landscape with donated cuttings of low-water needs plants.

Another project close to the hearts of the Friends of the Library is the summer reading program. The group provides funds for the Robson Library program, but also helps with the cost of the programs at Guadalupe and Gila Bend. The Friends also helped with the Aguila program in previous years, but that library district now has their own Friends chapter.

A major program the Friends tackled was the “looping” system for the Lecky Room. This high-tech system connects wirelessly with hearing aids worn by program attendees and provides a sound comparable to a voice speaking directly in the listener’s ear. Common in Europe, the Lecky Center is one of the few facilities in Arizona equipped with this technology. The Friends presented the keys to the program’s operation to the Robson Library and it is available to Sun Lakes residents.

One other very popular project of the Friends is the speakers they bring in, often with the help of the Arizona Humanities Council. Speakers have ranged from Dick Vogel’s experience living in Los Alamos when the government was testing nuclear bombs in the Pacific to Ann-Mary Lutzick’s program about architect Mary E. J. Colter in the southwest. Programs are frequently presented following the monthly meeting of Friends of the Library. Those meetings are the first Wednesday of each month in the Lecky Room and new members are always welcome.