To say that 2020 was challenging year would be a wild understatement. Due to the pandemic the Friends were compelled to cancel the Winter Book Sale, the Library Fair and the ever popular Holiday Tea. The two book sales events are an important source of the funds we raise each year to support programs at the Library and to aid in acquisition of new materials. Our decision to call off the sales has had a significant impact on our ability to raise funds. Fortunately, there are many in the community who wish to support the Library “come heck or high water.” There are a number of opportunities to support the Library via the Friends: via membership in the Friends, by donation, or by purchasing any of the high quality books donated to the Friends.
By becoming a member of the Friends of the Orcas Library your membership directly supports the Library. Now at the start of a new year it’s time to renew your membership, or if you are not yet a member, to join the Friends and support the Library. You can now renew your membership online, paying with a credit card or a check; just go to the outlined section above and follow the instructions there.
Donation of much loved books are another way to support the Library. Many on Orcas seem to be particularly keen readers. Some like to hold on to the books they’ve finished, but for many of us this would entail building new additions to our homes every few years. Fortunately, many choose to donate books, some of considerable value, to the Friends who are then able to offer them for resale. In a normal year many of the donated books are sold at our community sales events. In 2020, however, most of our sales have been via eBay where we offer an assortment of particularly valuable and often unique books. In addition, while the Library was closed to the public, we offered “curb-side” sales. More recently the Library was able to open with reduced hours and sales from the wide selection of books available in the lobby have been very strong.
As with many of the wonderful activities which take place here on Orcas every year, Friends of the Orcas Island Library (FOIL) very reluctantly canceled last Winter's Book Sale. That was early in the course of the pandemic. As conditions worsened both within Washington State, and elsewhere, the Library itself was forced to close. Then too the Summer Library Fair was canceled. Even the ever-popular Holiday Tea, where we show our appreciation of the Orcas community's support for the Library, could not take place.
The Winter Book Sale, the Summer Library Fair (and book sale) and the sale of books from the Friends Corner in the Library lobby are made possible by the generous donation of books by the community.
These sales generate most of the income which the Friends use to fund annual grants to the Library.
Due to the reduced revenues which cancellation of the fund-raising events has led to, the grant this coming new year will be slightly less than in the recent past. Nevertheless, FOIL is still able to lend valuable support to the several reading groups the Library hosts, to the on-going program of lectures (online for now), and to building the Library's collection of books and media.
Members support FOIL through their membership dues and often generous donations. New and renewing members are critical to our mission which is to support the Library. Membership in the Friends is available to all (see the link to the FOIL website on the Library's website, or contact us via the Library staff who are happy to help).
There is still time to pick up a stocking stuffer, or three, from the wide selection of books the Friends offer which are available for purchase in the Library Lobby. Happy Holidays to all. Stay safe and as we are sure you do, we are looking forward to a New Year.
President’s Report for the Annual Friends
of the Orcas Island Library (FOIL) Meeting
October 18, 2020
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
- Robert Burns
The first two lines above excerpted from Burns’ poem “To a Mouse” certainly describe our experience this past year: both the Winter Book sale, normally held in March, and the Summer Book Fair were both canceled. The Friends of the Orcas Island Library are, however ,somewhat more optimistic than the latter two lines might suggest. This is thanks largely to the continuing support of the island’s community. The support we receive is in turn a reflection of the support which the Library enjoys on the island. Book donations to the Friends are used to help support expansion of the library’s collection and many of the programs which it hosts.
Donations, many of very high quality, have continued if not increased in volume during this difficult period. And, while our normal sales events were canceled, sales online and to local booksellers, such as Serendipity in Friday Harbor and Pelican Bay in Anacortes, have helped to partly bridge the funding gap. (I think it is worth noting that several booksellers in the area consider the books on offer here on Orcas to be superior to those available elsewhere, a reflection of the quality of the community’s donations.)
The value of books is not just in how much we are able to sell them for. This year the Friends received a very generous bequest from the estate of Barbara Brown. A large portion of the books received concerned the culture and cultural practices of natives of the Americas, particularly in meso-America and the Pacific Northwest. Board member Robert Demarest recognized the resource which these books, collected over many years, represented. It is the Board’s intention to gift these to those institutions prepared to preserve this resource and to make it available to interested parties.
While book donations are obviously important, and their sale our primary source of revenue, we would very much like to increase membership in the Friends of the Orcas Library. Anyone can become a member of the Friends, and if you are not a member yet, then we invite you to become one. For those who have supported us in the past, and perhaps have yet to renew their membership, we urge you to do so. Your support, either by contributing funds, or your time, or both, is especially important now. Currently the Friends has just over 100 members. Why not join or renew now?
Better yet, why not join the Friends’ Board. We are always on the lookout for enthusiastic supporters of the Library! The Board’s main occupation right now is keeping up with the veritable deluge of book donations which islanders continue to donate: reading is definitely “in” right now. Donations are first sorted—fiction, paper and hardback, biography, arts & crafts, etc.—boxed and stored, hopefully for future sales events. Those of significant value, and there are many, are sold on eBay, and a relatively small number go to wholesalers. While the two annual sales do represent the largest fraction of Friend’s income each year, and both were canceled this year, a more vigorous effort to market online, and sales to local booksellers have meant that though our income is only about one-half that of 2019.
At last year’s Annual Meeting we reported a net income of approximately $9,800 after funding grants to the Library worth more than $17,000. In January of the current fiscal year we provided a grant to the Library of $20,000. Due to our inability to hold the two sales events this year our net income was -$8,354 (i.e., after the grant). Subsequently the Library’s grant request for the coming year has been reduced to $15,000 and the Friends’ Board has committed to funding the Library’s grant request in full. Grants to the Library are used primarily to support the Summer Reading Program; the Elementary, Young Adult, and Adult Book Clubs; and the Library’s popular programs and presentations.
The Board meets monthly (presently via Zoom) and members and the public are more than welcome to join in. If you want to support the Library but don’t know how, the Friends Board is a great place to start!
For more information concerning the Friends’ support for the Library, the following documents are available on request: the Friends “Profit and Loss” statement for the period 4th quarter 2019 through 3rd quarter 2020 (inclusive) and a “Balance” statement as of September 30th.
Download printed version of this report here