Friends cater to library needs

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Friends of the Library was created in 1976 after the library became a part of the city in 1973, said President Penny Lommen. Lommen has been president of Friends of the Library for two years.

The Friends of the Library has ways to reach out to the Socorro community, and anyone can be a member by paying a fee of $10 a year, Lommen said. Many of the members of Friends of the Library are lifetime members. According to Socorro Public Library’s website, the Friends of the Library’s mission is to support the library, its services and programs by advocating for public support and use of the library.

This year, Friends of the Library sponsored an author visit by David Bowman, who talked to the community about five essential strategies of better writing, she said.

Currently, Friends of the Library has 120 members, and Lommen has sent out letters to members in the past to see if they want to join again. Membership applications are available online and in the library.

“More people ought to join Friends because they are a great deal,” said Friends of the Library member George Austin.

George and Marge Austin have been members of Friends of the Library for 20 years. George said he thinks Friends of the Library is valuable, and Marge said her favorite part about being a member is helping with projects such as the book drive.

“We feel strongly about Friends,” Marge said. “It has been good to us and we are trying to give back to the community.”

Lommen says the group has lost 100 members this year, possibly because they don’t realize their membership has lapsed. Some, too, have lost interest, she said, and are not involved because there is physical labor involved with book sales. Membership also dropped because people’s interests are changing, she said.

Friends of the Library projects include book drives. An October event raised $13,083 that will go toward any library needs, she said. In the past, book drive money has been used for renovations and the summer reading program at the library, she said.

“One of the best things I did while being president was have the book room renovated,” Lommen said. “It was fixed and painted.”

Friends hosts an annual Christmas party. This year’s party takes place on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. with the choral group Los Cantantes performing and refreshments being served. The party will be held in the Southwest Room in the library.

“The library plays an important role in the community,” Lommen said.