Friends group can’t wait for library opening

December 6, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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The Newcastle Library’s Dec. 8 opening could not come soon enough for members of the Friends of the Newcastle Library group.

The group’s secretary, Sue Beverly, likened the anticipation to an eager child waiting to open presents the day before Christmas.

“Every time I think about it I just get the giggles,” she said.

Friends groups are common in the King County Library System. There are currently more than 35 Friends groups, according to the KCLS website. The groups hold ongoing book sales and collect membership dues to raise funds to support special projects and activities for their local libraries.

The Newcastle group has been busy collecting book donations and setting the organization’s structure at its monthly meetings.

The group already has more than 50 boxes filled with donated books held in storage. Once the library opens, the organization will host an ongoing book sale to benefit the library.

“All of the fundraising that we do goes into the Newcastle Library, it doesn’t go into the system as a whole to be spent at some other library,” Beverly said. “It stays right here in our community.”

The possibilities are endless when it comes to putting on programs and events at the new library, and the group is excited to help contribute funds to support them, Beverly said.

“It really varies from one library to another,” she said. “Some places they like art programs, other places they like cooking classes, and at some libraries it’s all about the literature and writing workshops.”

Carol Simpson, the group’s treasurer, said the group wants to get input from the community on what exactly they would like to see the library offer.

“I like anything that benefits the children, including story times and study halls,” she said. “But we’d like to hear from the public about what they’d like to have in the way of extra services and events.”

The best way to ensure the library offers fun, engaging programs is to join the Friends group, Simpson said. As a benefit of membership, people will have the opportunity to interact with the librarians and help shape programming.

“If you want to see programs, be a member and help put on those programs,” Simpson said. “I mean, there’s nothing like being a member of the group to make sure you are getting out of the organization what you want.”

Membership dues range anywhere from $5 to $15 and are paid on a yearly basis. The Friends group already has about 30 members, but organizers expect that number to dramatically increase once the library opens. Representatives from the group will sell memberships at the library’s grand opening.

“We wanted to make the membership affordable so that people would want to join,” Beverly said. “One reason why I would hope we get a lot of members is that everybody brings something. They bring ideas, they bring energy, they bring special talents and abilities, and professional connections.”

Beverly said she can’t imagine her life without a library. As a child, she’d visit a library on a weekly basis and the habit has continued to this day. Now, with the Newcastle Library’s opening, the drive won’t be as far.

“To me, the library is kind of the ultimate gift card — it never runs out, and you can always go down there and get as many as you want,” she said. “I’m just so excited.”

While Simpson admitted she is not a huge library user, she is excited for the opportunities that the library will bring to local businesses and organizations.

“The thing that is so good about our library, besides it being a community asset, is that it is an economic drive that is bringing more people to Newcastle,” she said.

The group is seeking volunteers to help manage the ongoing book sale once the library opens. Volunteers must be members of the Friends group to assist, due to insurance purposes.


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Learn more about the Friends of the Newcastle Library group by emailing

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