The following is from the President’s Report from the recently-released 2019-2020 FTPML Annual Report.
The Friends of the Takoma Park Maryland Library is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that supports our community library. Each year, the Friends of the Takoma Park Maryland Library engages with members and the Takoma Park community to promote and fund the library’s incredible array of programming.
In the previous year, we have continued to support our mainstay programs for children, including Spanish and French Circle Time, storytelling and craft programs, and the ever-popular SummerQuest and WinterQuest reading programs. For adults, we continued to fund speakers for our Big Book Group sessions in the spring and fall, and the Friends sponsored a panel discussion in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards with Jason Reynolds, Eloise Greenfield, and Deborah Taylor.
Our book sales continued to bring the community together. Through our spring, fall, and winter book sales, we raised $8,719.00. Over the past year, our sales have become an even greater draw through partnerships with the Piney Branch and Takoma Elementary School PTAs, which have hosted bake sales to keep our book buyers and library patrons well-fed and well-energized.
In addition to this work, we have focused on enhancing programming and conducting outreach to underserved populations. This past year, we secured funding from the Takoma Foundation to continue the highly-regarded Piney Branch Elementary School English as a Second Language Community Book Club series during the 2019-2020 school year. The Book Club Series helps children who speak English as a second language catch up to grade-level English, provides participating families with hands-on opportunities to engage with school and library staff, and highlights many valuable community resources for attendees.
The Friends also launched an outreach campaign with presentations and resources for seniors and people with disabilities living in Takoma Park to encourage their use of the library. This initiative provides information to seniors and people with disabilities about the many offerings of our library and how to access the resources remotely and in person.
Donations and membership dues continue to play a critical role in funding library programming. Last year, we received a slight increase in membership dues and donations, pulling in $6,396.00, an increase of $448.00. The Friends are still working to identify outlets to reach new potential members and to offer our enthusiastic members with opportunities to have fun and socialize all while raising money to support the Friends. One way we accomplished this was through a February fundraising event at the Takoma Park VFW. Headlined by a local band and 80s pop music powerhouse – the Airport 77s – the event was full of music, dancing, and friends. Thanks in large part to member support, the Friends brought in $2,300 to fund the Takoma Park Library’s 2020 SummerQuest and other library programming.
While we are incredibly proud of the work we have done as a board in collaboration with our members, it is critical to understand that the library continues to need our support, as we work to secure and enhance the library’s future. Without a new library building, the current space will eventually become unusable as a public space. Our library has many deficiencies, and the problems will only continue to grow in the future. The much-needed renovation will ensure that our library will respond to the needs of our community. Specifically, the library renovation project will: Provide community program and meeting rooms with AV capability; include computer rooms on-site; provide appropriate space for children, young adults, and adults; use sustainable and LEED Certified design principals in the design and operation; centralize staff to ensure that they can monitor all activity for a safe and secure environment; visually and physically connect the library to the community center; and address a myriad of deficiencies, including ADA non-compliance, lack of sprinkler system, outdated HVAC and electric system, and eliminate the wood roof framing, which presents a fire hazard.
We are incredibly appreciative of all of the public support our members have shown to advocate for the renovation project. There is no doubt that your letters, testimony, and videos of support have had a tremendous impact on the Takoma Park City Council. RR/MM Lukmire Architects is currently working on a final design and construction estimate to present to the City Council in September 2020. We are looking forward to seeing the final designs, and it will be especially critical that members and other supporters continue to advocate for the City to move forward with the renovation project.
This year we say farewell to three board members who have made invaluable contributions to the trajectory of the board and to our community. I want to thank Anand, Sylvie, and Rebekah. Anand for his dedication to crafting innovative outreach opportunities for youth in our community; Sylvie for her artistic flair and key role identifying children’s literature and programming; and Rebekah for her tireless contributions to the success of the board, including her invaluable leadership as a two-term board president. Recognition for any success must also go to the library staff for their work and for the initiatives they have launched that make our library an outstanding community and cultural center.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, our next term will likely look much different than previous years. We have already had to postpone our annual meeting with guest speaker, Kevin Blackistone, and we had to cancel our spring book sale. That being said, as we embark upon the library’s 85th year, the board will continue to support the library, albeit in socially distant ways. We are grateful to the members and supporters of the library, and we look forward to another year of working to ensure the success of our library.
Francis Nugent, President