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Scarsdale Library Applauds Friends Group

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Scarsdale Public Library Director Beth Bermel doesn't equivocate when speaking about the Friends of the Scarsdale Library. "The Friends of the Library are extremely important," she said Monday. "They supplement at lot of our programming. The children's programs this summer were completely funded by the Friends."

Sunday marked the beginning of the sixth annual National Friends of Libraries Week, offering Friends groups to promote their community outreach programs and raise awareness from Oct. 16 to 22. The celebrations also allow library staff and board of trustee members to recognize Friends groups and support local libraries.

The celebration was coordinated by the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), a division of the American Library Association with approximately 5,000 Friends of the Library, Trustee, Foundation and individual members and affiliates representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters.

"I'm convinced that the libraries are so much richer for the enthusiasm and expertise that the Friends bring to the Library," said Sally Gardner, executive director of ALTAFF, in a statement. "I hope that libraries across the country will use this week to honor their best supporters – the Friends of their Library – and use this opportunity to promote and expand their membership in this valuable organization."

The Scarsdale group was founded in 1946, according to its president, Kathy Gray. It was a 15-member board and received donations in the past year from roughly 350 families.

"We raise money to help the library supplement its budget from the village in order to implement additional programming, especially for children, maintain and beautify the building and grounds -- some years ago we improved the plantings at the entrance to the library and we maintain them -- support new concepts such as museum passes that can be checked out by patrons and music and e-book downloads, and many, many more things," Gray said.

The group holds two fundraisers each year. "We hold the book sale in September, which, for the past few years, has brought in over $45,000 per year," Gray said. “As of last January, we added a second fundraiser, an adult and teen spelling bee, which was a great, fun event that we're looking forward to repeating this January."

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