Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Volunteer group works to support Cashmere Library

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CASHMERE – The Cashmere Friends of the Library is a group of volunteers who work to support the library in various ways. 

They seek to fill in need gaps for the library, often by fundraising to provide financial support or physically filling in when extra hands are needed.

"The Cashmere Library staff appreciate our FOL group so much," library staff member Ashley Harrod said. "They support our library programs and staff in so many ways, and we couldn't do all that we are able to do, both at the library and out in the community, without them and their support." 

The Friends help at many of the library's larger programs and events. They organize volunteers to run booths for the annual Family Fun Fair and Salmon Release on Founder's Day.

They help run craft booths at the annual Dia De Los Muertos Block Party, which is hosted by the Cashmere Library, the Cashmere High School PAC, and staff.

For the library's annual Cashmere Library Murder Mystery, the friends help by creating props, decorating the library, and playing various roles.

For several years the Friends have helped the library with their popular program the Teen Poetry Slam. At the event, teens are invited to write and perform their original poetry. The Friends provide treats and prizes for the participants, President of the Cashmere Friends of the Library JoAnne Prusa said.

The group also helps the library with any extra expenses that come up.

"Cashmere (Library) has a fish tank where little baby salmon fry are raised," Prusa said. "And they have in the last couple of years gone down on Founders Day to have kids and their families release these little fish into the Wenatchee River down at Riverside Park, which is always kind of fun."

"So the kids get to watch the fish develop in the fish tank at the library and then get to send them home in the summer, and we found out earlier this year that our fish tank is wearing out and needs to be replaced," Prusa said. "We were given a quote of about $2,000. So we've gotten some donations from the Cashmere Valley Bank and the Cashmere Rotary to help with that, and then we'll fill in the difference from our funds."

"Our first Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead program, we held this last fall and had a great turnout," Prusa said.

Prusa said the Friends of the Library helped decorate the tables and buy supplies for the event. They hope to do it again in the fall.

"We tend to buy prizes for the reading summer reading program, the winter reading program," Prusa said. "And that's just normal stuff and then whatever the librarians need. Our librarians are wonderful, and they come up with good programs."

"A big way the Friends group supports our library is by providing a great selection of prizes for our Summer Library Program, including prizes like a Kindle Fire," Branch Librarian Lisa Lawless said. "Prizes are a great way to generate excitement for summer reading."

Throughout the year, the Friends raise funds so that they may help with extra purchases and needs for the library and its programs. 

The group's fundraiser is an ongoing, onsite book sale with a shelf of used books that is frequently restocked. They also hold quarterly book sales and run a Founder's Book Sale at the Cashmere Library each June.

Currently, the Friends of the Cashmere Library are having a Big Spring Book Sale that began on Wednesday, April 10, at 1:00 p.m., will continue during open hours on Thursday and Friday, and will end on Saturday, April 13, at noon.

"Our FOL group is small but mighty," Harrod said. "They are always looking for new members who are interested in helping the library and there is something for everyone/anyone to do."

Harrod said the Friends are a "blessing" to the library.

"Well, I think it (The Friends) is important because our staff works very hard and tries to come up with a plan for community involvement of all ages to get the community into the library," Prusa said. "And they can't do it all by themselves. They need a little support group.

The Cashmere Library offers so much to the community. It draws the community in for information, outreach, and education. It fits many needs in the community, she said.

"When I grew up, a library was a quiet place to go and study and it is definitely not that now and I love it that people come together," Prusa said. 

Quinn Propst: 509-731-3590 or quinn@ward.media.

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