It helps to have friends

In life, it helps to have friends.

That may not be an earth-shattering discovery, but if you’ve ever found yourself facing an empty rental truck in the driveway and your entire household staged in cardboard boxes stacked in the living room, you know it’s a rather important one. Friends help make the impossible possible.

At the library, I was recently reminded of this as I stared at a storage room packed wall-to-wall with discarded and donated books. It was almost dizzying. Tiffin-Seneca Public Library is blessed to have a Friends of the Library group that faces this chaos each spring, loads these books onto carts, organizes and displays them, and then oversees their sale in order to raise funds for the library.

It is dusty, heavy work–and this year, I’ve asked our Friends to do it twice.

We always hold a book sale in the spring, but this year, we still had so many leftovers that I wanted to have a special “bag sale” to clear some shelves for all the books our community would surely be donating next spring. Believe me, it’s no fun telling people who want to help the library that you are out of room for what they have to give.

To their eternal credit, and despite the work required, the Friends of the Library didn’t hesitate to say yes. But then, they have a well-established track record of saying yes whenever the library and the community stand to benefit.

Think of almost any program, large or small, the library undertakes. You can bet the Friends have helped in some way to make it happen. Sometimes that’s through significant financial support, sometimes it’s through supplying refreshments, and often it’s by volunteering their time and energy at the event itself. You may not have known who they were, but if you’ve come the library’s programs, you’ve seen our Friends. They have served you cookies and punch at Operation Elf, and they’ve helped your grandchildren make crafts at the Storybook Festival. They’ve manned tables, counted people and bought prizes. TSPL would not be the library you love without them.

So I do hope you will come out to the Friends of the Library Bag Sale Aug. 24-25, bring a canvas tote or a grocery sack, and take home all the books you can fit inside it for $5. But I also hope you will do two other things.

First, I hope you will consider joining the Friends and becoming an active member. Just ask at our staff and we will get you the information you need. More importantly, I hope you will tell a Friends member “thank you” for all they do to make our library and our community extraordinary places. Truly, they deserve it.

Matthew Ross is director of Tiffin-Seneca Public Library.