Libraries serve cardholders, people that read the books, use the computers and other resources. But libraries also have friends. Friends of the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library is a group that financially supports programs, services and occasionally purchases gifts for the library.
At the Hewlett-Woodmere library, the Friends organization numbers approximately 400 households, with about 90 non-district residents. A board comprised of 14 members with a president and vice president and an executive board of seven runs the group.
Hewlett-Woodmere’s Friends was formed in 1948, about a year after the library was established. The Friends sponsors or co-sponsors a jazz program Highlights in Jazz four times a year (presented by former New York assistant attorney general Jack Kleinsinger), the Great Books discussions and lecturers.
“It’s not just a library anymore, it’s a community resource, a community center with all kinds of information and entertainment is part of our mission,” said Irene Levy, Friends vice president and a member for the past 12 years.
In addition to providing refreshments at the library’s Courtyard music program, Hewlett-Woodmere’s Friends has developed an instructional meeting to help other libraries form Friends groups.
“We have built a very good Friends organization,” said Frank Zaret, a past Friends president, who has been a library trustee for the past four years. “There are different levels of joining,” he added, “and people do contribute different amounts.”
Friends raises money through those contributions to support the library, including the children’s library and programs for the kids, along with a Friday morning adult discussion group that Levy said was very popular.
In March, Friends sponsored Tea Time with Winston Churchill, a lecture with historian Jack Hollenberg about the life of the last English prime minister that was also a tea party. On April 22, Friends is sponsoring the visit of author, humorist and ethicist Randy Cohen.