The contributions of FAL volunteers were celebrated on a sunny July afternoon at Dragon Rouge restaurant flanking the estuary. Board President Karen Butter, Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer, Council Member Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, and Library Director Jane Chisaki spoke, thanking the volunteers and outlining their importance to the Library and to the City. President Butter detailed the enthusiastic participation of the public – 63,000 library cards have been issued, 400,000 books were checked out, and patrons of all ages took part in more than 1,000 library programs. Many of these endeavors are supported by the Friends and by FAL volunteers, including book and media sales, Live @ the Library concerts, and Dewey’s Café.
Volunteers are essential to the work of the Friends, and they supplement sponsorship and underwriting by giving countless hours to helping programs succeed. Last year alone, Friends’ efforts raised more than $60,000 to strengthen library programs and upgrade technology. For example, Friends funding supports the popular Summer Reading Program, adult literacy, “1,000 Books before Kindergarten,” the Teen Book Club and Advisory Board, the Math Club, films for adults, craft classes for all ages, and more. Through a special campaign, FAL raised funds for three new digital screens, to be installed in the Main and the two branches.
The gala also recognized more than 40 years of service by three stalwart volunteers: Gert Woods, Peter Woods, and Adair Jorgensen. Their dogged devotion to the book and media sales has garnered well over $250,000 and enlisted the loyalty of many volunteers. The initial sale at Wood School 1971 raised $1,200 at a time when books were priced from 2 cents on up! Today the reputation of these sales based on the quality of materials offered is so sterling that people attend from all over the Bay Area. Gert, Peter, and Adair were presented with glass plaques recognizing them for a job well done. Theirs are big shoes to fill!