The Hennepin County Library is one of the best in the country, serving more than 1.1 million patrons at 41 locations with 5 million items. It was ranked 4th in a recent national library review and received the highest rating of 5 stars by Library Journal. In our community, no other institution serves such a diverse audience with such life-changing effect.
Great libraries are more than great buildings. They are an open community where all are welcome to learn, grow and enhance their lives through the power of discovery. Our organizational support of the Library goes beyond dollars. We are dedicated to fostering community support of the Library. In addition to fundraising, the Friends of HCL:
Advocate for strong public funding. Our vision is to create a future where public funds support a strong library system, private funds elevate our libraries to a premier level, and our community’s love of libraries ensures library excellence for generations to come. Over the years our advocacy efforts have included running the successful referendum campaign to 2000 that raised $140,000,000 for capital improvements, playing a key role in advocating for the merger of the Hennepin and Minneapolis systems in 2008, and participating in legislative actions for increased public support of libraries across the State. The Friends of HCL advocacy efforts, in partnership with the Library and civic leaders, have secured hundreds of millions of dollars in increased public support for libraries.
Host Book Sales. The Friends of HCL run the used Book Store at the Minneapolis Central Library (open 6 days a week) and help promote the many book sales run by the local Friends groups in the Library system. Books sold at these venues are a combination of books weeded from the Library collection and books donated by Library patrons. With the help of hundreds of volunteers across the system, book sales raise more than $250,000 for each year and help distribute hundreds of thousands of affordable books back into community.
Coordinate local Friends groups. In 2010, the Friends of HCL took on coordination of the local, independent Friends groups through the Hennepin County Library system. Previously, local Friends groups were coordinated by Library staff. This new model builds on successful practices elsewhere, and provides for a unified, comprehensive support network for our Library. The Friends of HCL support the 26 suburban Friends groups, and is on course to complete the development of 15 new groups in Minneapolis by the end of 2011. Coordination activities include communications resources, membership development, financial advice and oversight, networking among groups, database and website resources, and training and other organizational resources. Support for launching the new coordination efforts were generously provide by the Otto Bremer Foundation and the Professional Librarians Union of Minneapolis (PLUM).
Promote public awareness. Through newsletters, public meetings, electronic communications, and by working with local media, the Friends of HCL help to educate our community about the importance and value of the Library. Friends are ambassadors in our County and its varied communities, and membership in our organization demonstrates to the community the importance and value of a public library.