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The Friends of the Saratoga Libraries has a lot to celebrate this year. The nonprofit is in its 50th year of supporting the Saratoga Library, and the city of Saratoga is honoring the group as the Volunteer Organization of the Year.
The group raises money to donate to the Saratoga Library, located at 13650 Saratoga Ave., every year through memberships, direct donations and used book sales, says Liz Guy, the Friends’ communication director.
“Mostly, the money is used for programs,” Guy said. “We pay for the programs that are offered at the library, and other materials, collections and other things when we can, and larger capital things like furniture.”
This year, the group gave $150,000 to the library, one of its largest donations yet.
Guy says the largest chunk of funds comes from used book sales. Volunteers sell used books at the Book-Go-Round, located at 14410 Oak St.
“I think one of the things we’ve seen is during COVID, we actually had a really generous uptick in book donations, which is the bread and butter. We turn those donations into cash for the library,” Guy says. “I think people were at home, clearing their shelves.”
The pandemic did cause book sales and volunteering to decline, but Guy says the organization is back to its normal, pre-pandemic level of operations.
“We really want to grow our membership and include more of the community in our membership,” Guy says, “because participation means the community embraces your mission and thinks your work is meaningful.”
The Friends will receive recognition as Saratoga’s Volunteer Organization of the Year at the State of the City event on Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Joan Pisani Community Center, located at 19655 Allendale Ave.
The anniversary and recognition comes as the group prepares to celebrate the National Friends of Libraries Week Oct. 16-20. Guy saya the group will spread awareness and encourage more members of the community to sign up as members or make donations.
The organization has about 60 to 80 local volunteers who donate their time to work at the Book-Go-Round or to fundraise.
Friends of the Saratoga Libraries, which earned its name back when the city had more than one library, is part of a national organization of library support groups under the United for Libraries banner. Saratoga’s group formed in 1972.
To join the Friends, visit fslonline.org.