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Friends are treasures who celebrate our joys

My friend Cindy Knight, owner of Cindy’s Plant Stand near Elma, once shared how excited she was about acquiring a new worm bin. I smile every time I think of her unique joy … and of her.

Friends also support each other. For example, Friends of Timberland Regional libraries, including those in East Grays Harbor, share time and effort to enhance the libraries’ great services.

My last two columns addressed services for senior citizens. Now, a way we can give back to the community: Each of these groups needs and welcomes new members, including seniors:

MONTESANO

Friends of Montesano’s W.H. Abel Memorial Timberland Library have hosted “Lunch for your Brains,” with a wide variety of presenters each month, for almost two decades. They also designed, planted and maintain the “Shakespeare Garden” out front, this summer adding more plants mentioned in the Bard’s works.

Their twice-yearly “Basement Bargains Book Sale” is legendary. President Cathy Carter said it’s the group’s main fundraiser, making possible projects not “within the confines” of the library’s normal budget, such as helping purchase new carpet and blinds for the conference room and redecorate the children’s Story Time corner.

A cozy fireplace in the main library was the Friends’ addition last winter. They also provide coffee and tea for patrons and “want the library to be a focal point for the community, a great place to spend some time,” Carter said.

“They enrich not just the library but the entire community,” concurred Valerie Jester, library manager for nearly 25 years. “When folks who are interested in moving to our town make a stop at the library and are impressed by how nice it is, that is an investment in this community’s future — people.”

Except for summer, the Monte Friends meet at 10:30 a.m. the third Tuesday of each month in the downstairs meeting room of the library, 125 Main St. Call (360) 249-4211.

ELMA

Elma Timberland Library’s Friends are also “wonderful advocates not only for the library, but for the community at large,” said its new manager, Allison Grubbs. “Their dedication and commitment to lifelong literacy has resulted in supplementing the collection with additional magazines, hosting book sales and providing computer desks and other furniture within the building.”

Alice Knight, Cindy’s mom, was a founding member of the Friends there in 1982. She’s served several terms as president, including last year, besides holding other offices. The past half-dozen years, she has chaired the twice-yearly book sales, which fund special events, programs for all ages, furnishings and artwork, extra books and magazine subscriptions, items for patron computer use, meeting room supplies and more. The group also offers books and magazines for sale all year during library hours and encourages gifts, endowments and bequests to the library.

They meet at 10 a.m. the third Thursday of September through May in the meeting room at the library, 118 N. First St. Call (360) 482-3737.

McCLEARY

The McCleary Timberland Library, 121 S. Fourth St., wouldn’t be the “great community center that it is if it wasn’t for the Friends,” said Karen Kienenberger, with Timberland since 1989 and McCleary’s manager since 2007.

Through book-sale proceeds and donations, they provide books for children in the Summer Reading Program; additional programs; items needed for activities, such as a screen for weekly movies; a cheery story-time rug and framing of two donated Elton Bennett prints. They also organize and run an ongoing book sale in the library’s meeting room (“maybe McCleary’s only bookstore,” Kienenberger said), donate materials and maintain the library’s garden and help keep the library and community connected by participating in local events. “And, most of all, they help spread the word of what the library can offer to our townsfolk,” she added.

The Friends also provide more than monetary support, Kienenberger said, such as “words of kindness and appreciation” to her and her staff and “emotional support.”

“As a child in McCleary, the library was something of a sanctuary for me,” said president Megan Wilkerson of the Friends in McCleary. “So when I returned to town several years ago and discovered the Friends group, I was glad to join and help the effort to promote the use of our library.”

Their meetings are 11 a.m.-noon the first Tuesday of each month in the meeting room. For more information, check out the website at http://www.friendsofmcclearylibrary.com/ or call (360) 495-3368.

OAKVILLE

The value of the Friends of the Oakville Timberland Library is “multidimensional: precious, supportive, forward-thinking, active, collaborative,” said 23-year manager, Deborah Baker.

For a quarter century, the Friends have been raising funds for a new library space — $65,000 so far — with bake sales, book sales and library doll sales, Baker said. “Anita Hawkins has sold thousands in dolls,” she added, noting they’ve “traveled” all over the country, “and two even made it to the White House.”

They’re still hard at work to secure a new space for their library, noted the president of that Friends group, Bill Scholl. They have also supported Summer Reading Programs for years with free books for participating kids and have contributed food, drinks, supplies and money for programs.

They meet at 6:30 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at the library, 204 Main St. Call (360) 273-5305 or Scholl at (360) 520-6802.

Tommi Halvorsen Gatlin can be reached at rhoda1946@yahoo.com or through The Vidette’s editor, Steven Friederich, at editor@thevidette.com.

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