Here’s Why the Friends of the Hart County Library Deserve the “Fabulous Friends” Award:

I arrived in Hart County in 1998 to take on the job of Library Director.  At that time, there was a Friends of the Library group, but it was mostly moribund, its members disillusioned after dealing with the previous library administration.  A few years later, a few women, recent arrivals to the community, decided that the library was something that needed help (which it certainly did), and that they could do a lot to provide that help.

Since that day, more than fifteen years ago, we’ve come to depend on the Friends of the Hart County Library, and they haven’t let us down.

One of their early ideas was to start a bookstore in the basement of the library to organize and find homes for the better items from the immense array of books and other materials that are donated to the library every week.   From one room in the library basement, the bookstore has since grown to three well-organized rooms, manned by volunteers from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, four days a week.

Their fundraising efforts expanded to include an annual wine & cheese event, usually with silent auction items and other donation opportunities.

The money that results from the bookstore and from the wine & cheese fundraiser goes a long way toward supporting the library’s materials collections.  The Friends of the Hart County Library give us a monthly grant of $400.00 for New York Times bestsellers, along with $63.00 per month for children and YA books.  (We have additional grants for children’s materials, so the Friends concentrate their efforts on books for adult readers.)  For a small Friends group and a small library, this is a very big help.

Each year, the Friends contribute hundreds of dollars toward the Summer Reading Program (SRP), helping us to pay for performers/entertainers to come to the library, for a public performance license so we can show movies, as well as for Summer Reading Program prizes for the kids, and – for the last few years – SRP-themed t-shirts for the library staff.  We also regularly provide the Friends with a “wish list” of items we’ll need in the upcoming months for programs or materials – and they almost never say “no”.  Just in the past few days, two members of the Friends have brought in bags of craft supplies – paid for with their own money – for our Children’s Librarian to use for her weekly storytimes and our second annual Pirate Camp program.

We’ve had several evening and weekend book-signing events in recent years, showcasing local authors.  The Friends usually provide the beverages and snacks for these evenings – and not just buying jugs of sweet tea and boxes of cookies, but actually making cookies and appetizers for the attendees.  They also have provided this service for other programs, such as our annual “Passport to Adventure” evening that celebrates National Library Week.

This past year, the Friends even helped with our Halloween fundraiser, the Edgar Allan Poe-themed “Tell-Tale Hart” gala, organized by the library staff.  We had to relocate the event to a more expensive venue this past year, and the Friends paid the rental fee, allowing us to realize more of a profit from the evening.

Speaking of acknowledging the efforts of the staff, this year the Friends gave gift cards to each member of the staff for Valentine’s Day, and each year, they bring a catered lunch to the library for the staff, to acknowledge National Library Worker Day.  Not to mention that testimonial letters from some our Friends helped Hart County Library earn its recognition as Georgia Public Library of the Year for 2016.  It’s a great working relationship between the staff and the Friends – we very definitely appreciate one another.

Respectfully –

Richard Sanders
Director – Hart County Library

Friends of the Hart County Library won the “Fabulous Friends” Award for 2018, receiving their award in April at FOGL’s Annual Spring Business Meeting & Workshop.

Words of Praise for Sig Hall, FOGL Best Friend Award Honoree

From Beth Ratliff, President Friends of the Fayette County Public Library:

“As a retired Air Force pilot, Sig Hall is no stranger to service to those around him. As a member of the Friends of the Fayette County Public Library, Sig Hall has been the book sale chairman for 17 years…. Under Sig’s direction, the book sale has allowed the Friends to donate around $25,000 to the Fayette County Public Library each year to help fund programs such as the Summer Reading Program…. Sig exemplifies the definition of a friend of the library. He has been a visible advocate for the Fayette County Library, its staff, and programs.”

More words of praise for Sig Hall:

“Sig is a fierce advocate for our library and his integrity and responsiveness makes our library shine. The work that he does to support our library is most deserving of recognition.” — Jessica Kuhr, Public Services Librarian

“We owe great thanks to Sig Hall for serving in this role for 17 years with grace, professionalism, expertise and service excellence.” — Gina L. Martin, Public Services Librarian

“His high level of service to the library as an advocate is of ‘Super Star’ quality. His diligence for assuring that the donated books are properly stored when given to the library is remarkable.” — Chris Snell, Library Director, Fayette County Public Library

Tips on How to Start a Friends Group and Build Membership

20170428_104341smIt all starts with one member- YOU!

Loving the Library is an easy sell

Get the community involved

Meetings and events need to be fun and food helps!

Know the benefits of joining your group

  • Discounts
  • Early admission to book sale
  • Tote bags

Have a diverse board

Ask businesses to join

Be a dynamic group to attract members

Discover the talents or education or training of your members through surveys and talking to them.

Use the talents of your members

Use the FOGL and United for Libraries websites

Target library event attendees and businesses

Subscribe to other Friends Groups e-newsletters

Fundraising that works!

Sell merchandise

Own a day at your library -info on FOGL blog

Host a Murder Mystery Dinner

Silent Auctions

Summer Concert Series

New Member discounts

Invest in Certificates of Deposits

Post your sale on

Talk up your fundraiser

Sell books and other items online

Work with other groups and independent booksellers

Host contests (puzzles, art, coloring)

Organize a 5k or motorcycle ride

Have a restaurant spirit

Sell or raffle items donated from local businesses

Host a pancake breakfast with a local restaurant

Programs that you can join to bring in donations

Check out Kohl’s community service program

Amazon Smile

Kroger and Publix community programs

Georgia Give a Day


“While Reading” by Terry Kay

Click Here to Print a Copy of “While Reading”

While reading, I have been –
A cowboy (and an Indian) with Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour.
The confederate soldier with Joseph Pennell and Phillip Louis Williams
A pirate with Robert Louis Stevenson
An orphan with Charles Dickens
An eccentric with Flannery O’Connor
A dust bowl traveler with John Steinbeck.

While reading, I have been –
A whaler with Herman Melville
A golden-dreamer with Erskine Coldwell
A small-town barber with Wendell Berry
A runaway with mark Twain
An old-time gospel god James Weldon Johnson.

While reading, I have been –
A b-flat coronet player with William price fox
A battler of windmills with Miguel de Cervantes
An attendant in the House of Gentle Men with Kathy Hepinstall
A basketball player with Pat Conroy, a firefighter with Larry Brown, a defense attorney with John Grisham.

While reading, I have touched the oceans darkest depths and walked on planets in solar systems beyond our seeing.

While reading, I have climbed mountains lost in the clouds, and walked a different road with Robert frost and gazed at the little cat feet of fog with Carl Sandburg and danced to the language-music of Byron Herbert Reece and Edgar Allan Poe and David Bottoms.

While reading, I have flown the Atlantic with Charles Lindbergh and pierced the caul of space with john Glenn.

While reading, I have stood at Gettysburg with Lincoln and in Montgomery with Martin Luther King, Jr.

While reading, I have rejoiced with the still-living of Dachau on the day of liberation, and I have seen the unspeakable horror of Hiroshima on the day of killing.

While reading, I sat at the feet of Abraham and Moses and Jesus and Muhammad and Buddha, and all the other men of God, and all those who would kill God—the insane, the madman, bigoted, the fanatics.

While reading, I have been a boy and a man, girl and woman. I’ve been young and old. I have died and have been re-born.

While reading, I’ve become people I cannot be, doing things I cannot do. And I do not know of any other experience that could have given me such a life.

Terry Kay, Copyright, 2006
Revised for a reading at the Lagrange Public Library on April 14, 2016

Join United for Libraries for “Nuts & Bolts for Trustees, Friends and Foundations”

Martha Hall Kelly, author of the bestselling "Lilac Girls"
Martha Hall Kelly

United for Libraries will host “Nuts & Bolts for Trustees, Friends and Foundations sponsored by EBSCO” at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta on Fri., Jan. 20, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Westin Peachtree Plaza, Augusta Room 1.

Library Trustees, Friends groups, Foundations, and staff are invited to join a FREE day of information and resource sharing, round-table discussions, and learning opportunities. Lunch with an Author will feature Martha Hall Kelly (right), author of the bestselling Lilac Girls (Penguin Random House). Learn more about the important role advocacy can play in systemic change with afternoon keynote Ann Cramer, board member of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. In addition, Public Broadcasting Atlanta (PBA) recently announced the appointment of Ann Cramer to serve as new chairwoman of its Board of Directors. The day will culminate with our popular round-table discussions.

The first 75 people to register for Nuts & Bolts using the online form and check-in at the program by 10 a.m. will receive a free lunch from EBSCO. Lunch tickets not claimed by 10 a.m. will be forfeited. Attendees will be notified of their status by Jan. 4, 2017. Those not qualifying for a free lunch may attend the program and purchase lunch on site or bring their own. Lunch tickets not claimed by 10 a.m. will be made available to those who were not among the first 75 registrants. Please note that all Nuts & Bolts attendees must also be registered with ALA for a free exhibits only pass or as a Midwinter Meeting attendee. Please email or call us at (312) 280-2161 with any questions.

Other free United for Libraries programs at the Midwinter Meeting include:

  • Discussion groups for Friends, Trustees, Foundations, and Academic Friends
  • Spotlight on Adult Literature, featuring free book giveaways and author signings
  • Are you a Proactive or Reactive Advocate? Best Practices from Academic and Public Library Supporters (discussion group, co-sponsored with RUSA)
  • Best Practices for Public Library Directors and Their Trustees for Making Future Policy Decisions Together! (presented as part of the Symposium on the Future of Libraries)

For more about these programs, visit

For a full calendar of events, visit

Guide for Library Advocates

Love your library?  Not sure where to start when being a great library advocate?  The guide at the link below is a very valuable resource for library advocates. This free guide is a “step-by-step guide to developing an advocacy campaign. As you go through the Power Guide, come back to this page to see examples of talking points, flyers, petitions, and more.”

© United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, A advocates, Friends and Foundations. This guide is made available free through a generous grant from the Neal-Schuman Foundation. This guide may be reproduced in part or in its entirety with credit to United for Libraries so long as it is distributed freely.
United for Libraries Web site: