History of the Friends of the El Reno Carnegie Library

By Alicia Ballard

A “Friends of the Library Group” is a collection of people that support the library through fundraisers, book sales, programs, etc. Typically the group’s mission is to assist their local library, usually with fundraising and volunteering. The Friends of the Library are an essential part of any Library, be it a chain of locations or a single entity. The Friends help bring in additional income as well as other duties.

A division of the American Library Association supports Friends groups. This branch is call United for Libraries. United for Libraries was the result of two organizations joining together in 2009. Those two were once called Friends of Libraries USA and Association for Library Trustees and Advocates before the merge.

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Construction on the El Reno Carnegie Library was completed on May 5th, 1905 as a result of funding from the Andrew Carnegie foundation. The Friends of the El Reno Carnegie Library was formed on August 9th, 1984.

Through the decades, the Friends of the El Reno Carnegie Library have supported the building with fundraisers. As we continue to grow and mature with the changing times, the Friends have worked hard to keep the building modern, preserved, and pristine.

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As of recent years, most of the fundraising done by the Friends of the El Reno Carnegie Library has been devoted to renovating the beautiful and historic building. As well as purchasing material for the wonderful programming we offer to the public.

A year-round book sale lives just within the front doors of the El Reno Carnegie Library. In addition, a large book sale is held at the old stables four times a year. The Friends have their own cookbook, and even helped run concessions for a fundraiser at the Old Centre Theater in downtown El Reno in the past. Two of the largest events that the Friends are a part of is FanFest and Chocolate Festival.

These efforts, as well as many others, help raise funds to provide such things as new technology, audio books, e-books, art classes, supplies for programming, and much more. The Friends of the Library Group are an essential part to any library.