Edgar Stern would like to have new friends—friends of the that is.
Stern is the long-time president of the Friends of the Cinnaminson Library, a homespun group of local residents who voluntarily support the library and continue to foster its growth and improvement.
Sadly, as county and municipal budgets have tightened through the years, libraries seem to be one of the first entities to suffer the cuts.
“The Friends group is very important to the health of this library,” says Stern, a sprightly and committed 85-year-old, who has been president of the local chapter for more than 19 years. “We have been able to raise money and keep a strong presence in the community.”
The Friends of the Cinnaminson Library touts success in raising more than $275,000 that's been earmarked toward library items such as bookcases, carpeting, chairs, lighting and tables through the years. And the main circulation desk was purchased in 1999 by the Friends, as well as the shelving for new books, which was bought in 2000.
Plus, when the downstairs children’s section was added in 1963, the Friends fundraised more than $23,000 toward the effort.
Stern says the Cinnaminson organization was instrumental in getting many activities, such as the children's story telling hour and music programs, which attract hundreds of children annually.
The Friends' committee is led by a core group of 12 executive committee members. And there are about 250 members, who pay fees ranging from $7 to $100 yearly.
But the group’s primary source of income is through the twice-a-year book fairs held in the spring and fall, from the many book donations that are made to the library.
“The income from those two events has been vital,” says Stern. “The library is a wealth of knowledge, even with the rise of the Internet. We think it’s important to maintain it.”
And to help raise the Cinnaminson Library’s profile higher in the community, Stern is seeking more volunteers.
“Right before a book fair, we are the busiest,” says Stern.
According to Stern, the bulk of the help is needed to sort the thousands of books stored in the back rooms of the library, and for volunteers to work as cashiers during the events.
Besides new members, Stern says the executive committee is also looking for the replacements of vacancies on the board.
Eileen M. Rauth, a Burlington County Library veteran for over 25 years, says she hopes more residents will try to get involved with the library.
“It’s nice when you can see people contribute and give back,” Rauth says, whose been the branch manager for six years. "The funds raised from the group can help expand what the library is able to buy."
A meeting of the Friends group will be held Wednesday, Aug. 15, at 7:30 p.m. at the library.