Friends of the Louisville Free Public Library, a voluntary, non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization, is made up of citizens who are interested in promoting the welfare and growth of their library, in enriching its resources, and in making its services better known to the community. Through our direct gifts, programs, and publications, our goal is to stimulate awareness and use of The Library, and to enhance library programs, materials, and services.
We grow our membership through special events, and book sales. We hope you’ll consider joining.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President: Candace Jaworski
Vice President: VACANT
Secretary: Shannon Burnett
Treasurer: Sara Bryant
Alison Leith Myers
TO APPLY for a position on the Board of Directors, download the following position description and the application. You can also email LFPLFriends@gmail.com for more information. Applications will be maintained in our Board file for filling any vacancies throughout the term.
- Click here for the Board of Directors Position Description.
- Click here for the FOTL_2013-2015_Board Application.
The Friends of the Louisville Free Public Library had its beginnings early in 1977 when the Board of Trustees of the Louisville Free Public Library asked Carol Layne to head a Steering Committee of persons who were interested in such an idea. The Articles of Incorporation of the Friends were adopted on November 14, 1977, and the original copy was filed and recorded in Frankfort, Kentucky on November 15, 1977. In 1978, Friends of the Library would enjoy a prosperous beginning that would provide the strong foundation for which Friends thrives on today.
A stork holding a diaper full of books and carrying a message, “We have a new baby … ” was the poster design chosen by Friends to promote their first campaign in January, 1978. During their first membership drive, Friends mailed over 15,000 letters and advertised in several local newspaper announcements. Friends charged $2 a year for individuals to join, $1 for students and senior citizens, and $5 per family memberships. By July of that year, Friends had more than 1,200 members, and in September of that year Friends gave “birth” to another new baby, their Bicentennial Book.
In 1978, Friends published Louisville 200: Reflections of a City, as a salute to Louisville’s bicentennial. Inside the 80 pages are accounts of Louisville’s first Christmas; boarders in the early hotels; the end of the Civil War; the coming of electricity; and other events, large and small, in the life of Louisville, Kentucky. The book was edited by Wade Hall, then Humanities Chairman at Bellarmine College, and Nancy Jones, Friends’ chairman. Library staff and Friends members also assisted with publication.
In May, 1978, Friends took over the Library’s book sale. It grossed $9,835.51, $2,000 more than the sale held the previous fall. “We sold more than 10,000 books in the first two hours,” said Nancy Jones, chairman.
In the 80’s Friends launched several new community events including the Children’s Holiday Fair (right, 1984), and the renowned Kentucky Author Dinner (1987), honoring Commonwealth writers.
Not only have they provided great activities for authors and children, Friends have donated thousands of dollars to improve library departments and branches.
Beginning in 1991, Friends presented $1,000 to each branch for library improvements, gave $10,000 to buy books for the Children’s bookmobile, $15,000 for the Preschool Reading and “Books For Babies” program, and also gave several thousands of dollars for technology improvements in The Library. In 1996, Friends donated $10,000 to The Library 2000 Campaign for the purchase of cutting-edge information access for The Library system. The branch gifts were increased to $1,500 and Friends became the sponsor of the University Hospital’s “Read Baby Read” program, stressing the importance of reading and parent involvement in the library.
In 1997 Friends President, Norman McKenna, started a pilot “On Writing Well” program, a series of talks and workshops free to the public. Speakers that were involved included: Stephen Jay Gould; William Zinsser (right); C-J Columnist Rochelle Riley; Louisville Magazine Editor and Author Ronni Lundy; Louisville Mystery Writer and Educator Roberta Brown; and C-J Columnist and Author Byron Crawford.
Today, the Friends continue to play an integral part in the success of the Public Library system. Most recently when natural disaster struck the Main Branch causing major flooding in August of 2009, the Friends lost all of their books for the upcoming Fall Book Sale and had to cancel it. Fortunately due to smart oversight by the Executive Director, Craig Buthod, the Friends received insurance money that provided funds for the group to continue to support its mission. In return, the Friends have been able to contribute to the restoration of the Main Branch to show a continued partnership.