Volunteers Discover Libraries Need Friends, Too


Did you know that two shelves in a cupboard is called a library?

Thanks to the ladies of the Payson Womans Club, the first library in Payson was established with just that, two shelves in a cupboard in one of the town's school buildings.


Payson High School students created food for the annual Taste of Rim Country fund-raiser at the Payson library.

Through the years, the location and size of the library changed. It morphed from its humble cupboard beginnings to a shed-sized building, and then to a larger version completed in 1985.

And as the library grew, so did the need for volunteers. In 1987, the Library Friends of Payson (LFOP) was formed, with the goal of providing a better facility and more books for the community. The volunteer book lovers campaigned in the community for funds to underwrite a new and improved building.

The drive succeeded, thanks to the hard work of legions of volunteers, and in January 2002, the Payson Public Library held its grand opening ceremony for a new building in Rumsey Park.

"The library staff and LFOP volunteers work together in team effort," said Linda Lanctot, president of LFOP.

Library Friends of Payson is a non-profit organization and its mission is to provide financial and community support to the Payson Public Library. Friends also support endeavors that encourage literacy and free inquiry for individuals, families and society.

Library Friends has not only aided in providing books and cassettes, it has raised funds for the library's computers and supports children's programs affiliated with the library. It provides various programs accessible to the community.

The LFOP projects include some unusual and vital volunteer opportunities:

For instance, LFOP Homebound Program provides library check out and delivery service for those who are unable to get to the library.

The service provides an important source of learning, knowledge and entertainment for people often living difficult lives, like the disabled and the chronically ill.

In addition, the Juvenile Read-Out Program works with the Juvenile Court system to mentor juvenile offenders while they ‘read' themselves out of probation. Volunteers work one-on-one with youth with often-difficult lives, hoping that a developed love of reading will open doors through which they can pass to reach different lives.

Volunteers also work directly in the library, checking out books, answering phones, shelving and repairing books, preparing new arrivals for circulation, weeding unused items and processing new library cards.

The volunteers also play a leading role in the Dr. Seuss Read Across America Night and Summer Reading Program, which are among LFOP's most popular special events and projects.

Volunteers and members also play a key role in the Friends' establishment itself. Volunteers can help in the library bookstore (located in the library) or lend a hand in the library branch by assisting in tasks such as book inventory and maintenance. Volunteers are requested to give at least eight hours a month, working in four-hour shifts.

Members can participate as volunteers as well. Membership fees are: Single $15, Family $25, Patron $50, Superfriend $100. Anyone interested can contact the Payson Public Library by calling (928) 474-9260, or get information online at www.libraryfriendsofpayson.org.

Library Friends of Payson

Mission: The Library Friends of Payson, Inc., is a private, nonprofit organization and its mission is to provide financial and community support to the Payson Public Library.

They believe that public libraries comprise an integral aspect of community identity and development, and they support endeavors that encourage literacy and free inquiry within the individual, the family and society.

History: Like many of Rim Country's finest service organizations, "The Library Friends" were established as a grassroots effort to support the growing Payson Public Library.

They have evolved from just providing books to purchasing computers and other equipment and funding public library programs that would not otherwise be covered in its town and county budget.

Service provided: Free library services for homebound individuals through the Library Buddy Program. They also purchase books and supplies for Payson Public Library.

Projects: Annual Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase participant.

Maintain the LFOP bookstore (a used bookstore in the Payson Public Library). Staffing is done entirely by volunteers.

Officers and board members: President, Linda Lanctot; Newsletter, Romaine Brophy; Vice President, Alice Natale; Financial Secretary, Billie Gibbs; Treasurer, John Wilson; Membership, Marge Buland; Sec-retary, Dana Fladhammer; Book Shop, Jeanne Schoonover; At-Large, Sue Wilson, Karen Thornton, Marie-Jeanne Rakisits; Database, Susan Campbell, Kay Runbeck; Web site, Betsy Quinn; Program, Judy Buettner; Library Staff: Terry Morris, Donna Hopkins, Margaret Jesus, Ann Elliott and Donna Hopkins.

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