Steadfast. It is a term that comes to mind as the Scarborough Public Library prepares to celebrate National Friends of Libraries Week, beginning Oct. 18. The Friends of the Scarborough Library is a nonprofit, members-based organization that provides support to the nonprofit Public Library in a number of ways: philosophical, fundraising, programming, and volunteerism. Since the 1970s the Friends have been steadfast in their support of the library as we adapt to the community’s needs and maximize available resources.

Most people think of the Friends once a year when the annual used book sale fills the high school cafeteria with thousands of good quality used books. This year, the very popular sale had to be canceled. This annual event is not only a significant fundraiser to support the library, but it is also a community event that draws people from great distances. We know at least a few people plan their vacations around the dates. We assure fans that the sale will return when it is safe to do so.

The Friends were first organized to provide story times and a children’s reading space in the original library on Black Point Road. Soon after, they sponsored the first telephone. The fundraisers in these early days included baked beans and brown bread, used books and crafts. Sales were held on the front lawn.

Today, the Friends still believe in the importance of early childhood literacy and they sponsor the summer reading program activities each year. They also understand the need for a diverse collection in multiple formats, for all ages, contributing $4,000 this year for our collections.

As with the book sale, programming is on hiatus. The Friends have lined up the next speakers in the Emerson Lecture Series which has been made possible through a bequest from Fred Emerson. These programs will be open to the public and offer important enrichment to our community. Recent topics ranged from shipwrecks to cybersecurity.

If you borrowed a pass to the Portland Museum of Art, the Children’s Museum, or Maine Wildlife Park, thank the Friends. If you enjoyed one of the Monday Movie matinees, thank the Friends. If you plugged into the electric vehicle charger or sat on one of our colorful lawn chairs, thank the Friends. If you pick-up an issue of Book Page each month … you know the rest.

Every organization appreciates a cheering section and the Friends have rallied when we needed them most. We can’t measure the tons of books that have been hauled and sorted in the effort to make the best organized book sale, but let’s just say they seem to have a lot of fun doing it. Sometimes the rally is tangible but quiet, like the spirit-lifting treats that arrive for the library staff each month from a Friends board member. It might be crisis driven such as the need for face masks and COVID door monitors, or letter writers for funding. We also truly appreciate the very real value of people who pay their dues and join the “cheering squad” each year, thereby acknowledging the importance of a strong public library for themselves and the community.

We hope you’ll celebrate the week and cheer with us by joining the Friends of the Scarborough Library. Visit their website at or stop by the library for an application.

Thank you, Friends!

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