By Luke Weir
The Friends of Watauga County Public Library are holding their annual meeting Wednesday, April 25 at 11:30 a.m., according to member Joan Hearn.
Since 1974, the Friends have engaged in fundraising and volunteering on behalf of the Watauga County Public Library.
“Friends of the Library is a nonprofit, all-volunteer group,” Hearn said. “Our only function is to help support the library by funding things government money doesn’t cover.”
The group’s annual meeting April 25 will begin with an optional lunch catered by F.A.R.M. Café for a suggested donation of $8 a plate. Following lunch, renowned local historian Eric Plaag will deliver a talk about the Digital Watauga Project, beginning around noon.
The Digital Watauga Project is a collaboration between the Watauga County Historical Society and the public library to preserve and display the High Country’s archival memory, according to the project’s official website. Plaag is a sponsor of the project.
Other than the optional $8 cost of lunch, the Friends of Watauga County Public Library annual meeting is open to the public and free to attend, Hearn said.
“The state and county keep cutting the budget, so we fill in,” Hearn said. “We make quite a bit of money for the library each month, and we don’t take a penny for expenses—it’s all volunteer.”
The Friends fundraise through used book sales at the library, their annual used book sale at Boone Mall, membership donations, philanthropic donations and other special events, Hearn said.
With the funds raised, the Friends support a number of community-based and youth-oriented programs which Hearn said would not be otherwise possible, including events such as the Watauga Community Read, Reading and Rolling for Rural Kids, Youth Reading Programs and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, among other programs.
The cost to become a member of Friends of the Watauga County Public Library is $2 for the youth, $5 for an individual, and $10 for a family. These fees are the minimum set by Friends of the Library, but Hearn said many members choose to contribute more.
To join or donate to the cause, Hearn said to write a check to Friends of Watauga County Public Library and drop it off at the library, or send it to the library’s mailing address, 140 Queen Street.
In order for the Friends to properly plan for the annual meeting, Hearn said to make a reservation with Monica Caruso at the Watauga County Public Library by April 24. Caruso can be contacted by dialing the library at 828-264‑8784, extension 4, or by emailing [email protected]
Hearn said everyone, regardless of membership, is encouraged to attend the Friends of Watauga County Public Library annual meeting April 25.