What’s new with Friends of the Granite Bay Library

By: Eileen Wilson, Granite Bay View Correspondent
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Know and go:

Friends of the Granite Bay Library Crab Feed

6 p.m., Saturday, March 2

Lutheran Church of Resurrection, 6365 Douglas Blvd.

Tickets $40, $45 after Feb. 2

If you think the library is a place where gray-haired librarians with chained bifocals shush you, well, you haven’t been to the Granite Bay Library lately.

Walk in the door and you will see a beehive of activity. From kids thumbing through throngs of picture books to teens playing multi-user video games; from people job searching and creating resumes to seniors enjoying the newest biographies, the Granite Bay Library has something for everyone — and everyone who visits feels a sense of community and welcome.

While many patrons remember the Friends of the Library fashion show, author visits, and art exhibitions that took place nearly a decade ago, the “Friends” group seemed to slow to a crawl in recent years. But that’s about to change. The faces on the “Friends” board are new, and their plans are a delightful combination of old favorites and fresh ideas.

First up, an inaugural crab feed on Saturday, March 2 — an event that will include plenty of seafood and pasta, and an extensive list of auction items including big-ticket items such as weeks at different vacation homes.

While bidding on a vacation to your favorite warm-weather destination might be a good reason to attend a community crab feed, it’s not the best reason.

“The number one reason is not really for the crab or the auction items, but to support your local library,” said Rhonda Tory, Friends of the Granite Bay Library’s president, pro tempore. “The reasons to attend the event are threefold. It’s an opportunity to support your local library; you’re going to get a nice meal for your money (fresh crab, not frozen, brought in from the Bay Area); and it will be a really nice community event that will bring everyone together for a common cause.”

Bringing people together in a bookish setting is what the Friends group is all about.

“We have a lot of energy, a new website, a newsletter and a new logo,” said Jennifer Rexroad, the group’s membership chair. “We have a great start, and good momentum — only good things can happen now.”

The group intends to host children and adult author events, music and more.

“I saw that Auburn and Rocklin libraries had newsletters and great events. I knew that Granite Bay has a great group of people who are talented, and who love libraries,” Rexroad said.

Why do libraries need a Friends group, some might wonder. The library is known for featuring the latest best sellers, which can sometimes have a wait list a dozen patrons long. But no library would have the best new picture books or the hottest teen reads without a little help from their Friends group, especially in challenging economic times.

With continued budget cuts, libraries are finding it increasingly difficult to purchase books or keep up to date on technology.

“We had a huge hit in our materials budget — we have only a quarter of the budget that we had a couple of years ago,” said Shari Dearing, branch librarian. “Circulation is way up, and the Friends has purchased new computers for us, and offered a Hawk Talk program, which had 60 people in attendance.”

Tory agreed.

“If you’re looking for new books, you’re not going to find them without the Friends’ help,” she said.

In addition, the Friends recently purchased self-check-out machines, which will free library staff to help patrons.

The Friends group is building an email database for newsletter distribution and plans to start a membership drive and get the word out about all the exciting events coming up.