Friends of Edmonds Library to celebrate 40 years with a party Nov. 21

Book bargain hunters pore over thousands of books spread out on tables during the annual Friends of the Edmonds Library book sale in 2016. (File photo by Larry Vogel)

With 15 founding members, Friends of the Edmonds Library filed articles of incorporation with the Washington Secretary of State’s Office on July 11, 1979. In 1980, Friends of the Edmonds Library gave $868 to the Edmonds Library from book sale proceeds.

The Friends of the Edmonds Library has come a long way in four decades.

Now the group has more than 150 paid members and brings in about $40,000 a year from ongoing book sales in the library, charitable contributions and an annual book sale and silent auction that fills the Frances Anderson Center Gym each fall, said Luke Distelhorst, president of Friends of the Edmonds Library. Since its founding, Friends of the Edmonds Library has raised more than $456,000 for library programs and support.

“Their goals are to support and enhance the Edmonds Library, promote literacy and professional education and training,” Edmonds Library Manager Richard Suico said. “They have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through the annual and ongoing book sales. That money has gone back into the community to support children’s programming, facilities enhancements, summer reading programs and to support local partnerships with the Edmonds Arts Commission, Edmonds School District, the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce to name a few. Needless to say, the library loves our Friends.”

Friends of the Edmonds Library gives about $28,000 per year to the Edmonds Library, Distelhorst said. Librarians get $15,000 per year for programming and library amenities, no strings attached.

“They’re the professionals,” Distelhorst said. “They know what they need for their programs.”

Another $10,000 to $15,000 supports other operations at the Edmonds Library, including maintenance for the library aquarium and indoor plants, Distelhorst said. The big-ticket item this year is $12,000 for new outdoor signs. Past contributions have included $15,000 for new computers and desks and $10,000 for new shelving bookends.

Friends of the Edmonds Library also gives a $4,000 scholarship to a graduate student in library science.

Friends of the Edmonds Library has grown since Distelhorst took the helm as president three years ago. He credits more visibility in the community, more fundraising events, a useful Friends of the Edmonds Library website, and a mix of daytime and evening monthly membership meetings to attract more prospective members. Many new members are younger parents with children, and they’re frequent Edmonds Library customers.

To mark its 40th anniversary, Friends of the Edmonds Library will host a party from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at Brigid’s Bottleshop, 188 Sunset Ave. S., Edmonds. The family- and dog-friendly event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. Distelhorst said the Friends decided to hold their party away from the library to avoid disrupting library customers.

With new leadership for Friends of the Library, Distelhorst said he expects the group’s direction could evolve, but not its commitment to support Edmonds Library.

“That’s going to continue,” he said.

Suico appreciates the support.

“The Friends of the Edmonds Library are the heart, hands and head of the library community,” he said. “In other words, they love the library, accomplish much with volunteerism in and for the library, and advocate and keep the library top of mind in the community.

— Submitted by Sno-Isle Libraries

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