Will you be a friend?

Published 12:26 am Wednesday, September 1, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - The Niles District Library could use some help from its friends. The only problem is the library doesn't have any friends - yet.
The Friends of the Niles District Library will be accepting applications for membership beginning Sept. 13.
Library Director Nancy Studebaker has been working hard with a half-dozen Niles residents to establish a new friends of the library group.
Four of the six members of the steering committee for the friends group, Una Shankland, Marilyn Doolittle, Betsy Jackson, and Rucilla Coulston, met with Studebaker Tuesday to finalize plans to begin accepting applications.
The Friends group is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the library through fundraising and promoting events and activities held by the library.
There will be differing levels of "friendship" available with different perks and membership dues that need to be paid. Borrowing privileges are not included in the membership, Studebaker said.
Because the group is independent of the library, those living out of the district, who must pay $75 for borrowing privileges, can join the group to support the library without paying more than in-district members.
A young friend package is available to those 18 years-old and younger who wish to join the group.
The membership package costs three dollars and includes a membership bookmark.
The five dollar "Friend" package includes a special Friends of the Library library card and the membership bookmark.
A "Family Friend" package is available for $10 and members will receive two library cards and bookmarks.
Under the "Dear Friend" package, members will receive a special Friends of the Library book bag, the card, and the bookmark, for a $25 membership fee.
For those who really want to help the library, the $100 "Friend for Life" entitles members to all the items included in lower priced plans, as well as an invitation to they library's centennial celebration in Nov.
The Friends are currently applying for 501(c)3 status with the Internal Revenue Service, which will allow all contributions made to the group to be tax deductible on members' taxes.
There are three ways to sign up for the Friends program. Interested people can sign up at the circulation desk of the library, mail in their application, or apply on the internet through the library web-site.
There have been attempts in the past to establish friends groups for the library, but all of them dissolved shortly after they began.
The most recent attempt was in 1997, but the group lasted only a few months, Studebaker said.
The friends will hold their first meeting Nov. 8 to establish by-laws and elect a leadership board.
To apply online, go to www.nileslibrary.com/friends and click on "Join the Friends." For more information, please call the library at (269) 683-8545.