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Library News

By: Charlene Lipka, President of the Friends of the Library
For: Red Rock News
Date: April 24, 2009

History of Friends of the Library

French Poet Jacques Delille said, “Chance makes our parents, but choice makes our friends.”

In 1967, a group of Sedonans chose to become special friends to the library that had opened in 1958. At that time, the City of Sedona had not yet been incorporated. Sedona Public Library was an entirely volunteer effort, and all funding was through donations. The Friends of the Sedona Library (FOL) Inc. was incorporated to support the library through fund raising and volunteering. It is a separate corporation from Sedona Public Library.

Today the Library contracts with the City of Sedona and both Coconino and Yavapai Counties to provide free library services to area residents and visitors. While this public funding covers the costs of salaries for professional staff, utilities and other operational costs, private sources of funding are required for a significant portion of the Library’s budget each year.

The bulk of that annual private funding comes from FOL, through its book sales and special events. This year, FOL has pledged a minimum of $86,000 that will be used to increase and enhance the Library’s collection of books, audio/visual materials, computers and other technological resources; provide special programming such as the Children’s Summer Reading Program; add shelving to house the collection; and meet other needs that may arise.

FOL supports Sedona Public Library as it strives to encourage literacy, lifelong learning and the love of reading throughout our diverse community. Current FOL officers are Charlene Lipka, president; Leigh Shafer, first vice president; Mary Snyder, second vice president; Pat Loveless, secretary; and Donna Hawk, treasurer. Other Board members are SanDee Kinnen, Jawn McKinley and Anne Smith.

As with most such groups, a small number of people do the bulk of the work. FOL is always looking for more volunteers to help support the Library. Here are some opportunities:

  • Book Sales –Volunteers (especially those who can lift boxes of books and set up tables) are needed to arrange the books on tables by subject and pack up after the sales end. The spring sale opens with a preview for FOL members and invited guests at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 20, and is open during Library hours through Monday, April 27. The fall sale preview is Friday, Oct. 16. The sale will be open during Library hours through Sunday, Oct. 25. Volunteers are needed to keep the sales area looking neat and to cashier. To volunteer, send an email to
  • Festival of the Wreaths – This popular event offers for sale wreaths and other holiday decorations that have been made and donated by businesses and individuals. Due to current economic conditions, we may not hold the Festival this year. A decision will be made in July. For more information, email
  • Internet Book Sales – FOL began selling certain items on eBay and in December 2005 and now nets an average of $1,000 per month. Volunteers are needed to research, price and list the items. E-sale volunteers need to be minimally computer literate. A sense of humor and the instincts of a detective are helpful. Hands-on training is provided. Anyone interested should send an email to
  • Ongoing Book Sales – Donations for the semi-annual (spring and fall) book sales come in throughout the year and have to be processed. Paperbacks and trade publications are offered for sale throughout the year. The shelves are stocked weekly to ensure a good selection. Because we are blessed with so many donations, FOL has begun offering Mini Book Sales of items in specific categories during certain months. For example, the March sale featured vintage cookbooks. The next Mini Book Sale is June 1 – 7 and will feature local, U.S. and World history books and biographies. To volunteer, send an email to
  • Virtual Book Sales – FOL recently began making interesting and unique books available for sale by email. For details, go to our Website at and click on Virtual Book Sales.

As you can see, the Friends keep busy. Even if you can’t volunteer for one of the events mentioned, you can help by becoming a member of Friends of the Sedona Library.

Membership benefits include preview admission to the spring and fall book sales, a punch card good for 10 fines of up to $1 each and a quarterly FOL newsletter.

But more than that, you join a group of dedicated members who make a difference for our community by helping support an organization that has become our community center. Sedona Public Library offers a wide range of programs for all ages, from toddlers to teens to adults; free Wi-Fi Internet access and public Internet computers; a popular collection of the newest best sellers, plus items uniquely of interest to our community; and availability 55 hours a week, including 5 hours on Sundays.

Become an advocate for and supporter of your Library. Applications are available at the Circulation Desk at the Library, or you can mail your tax-deductible membership fee to Friends of the Sedona Library, P.O. Box 268, Sedona, AZ 86339. Membership categories are:

  • Member, $15 (one individual)
  • Family, $25 (couples/parents & children)
  • Sponsor, $50
  • Patron, $100
  • Benefactor, $250
  • Other, any amount you wish to contribute

Charlene Lipka, author of this week's article,
is President of the Friends of the Sedona Library, Inc.

Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News
and is also presented on: Gateway to Sedona and Sedona Biz.