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Check It Out: October is National Friends of the Library month

Tables of books are set up during the quarterly Friends of the Library book sales. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Practically every organization, profession, object, and idea has a designated day, week, or month set aside for recognition. During October, we could celebrate Name Your Car Day, World Smile Day, World Vegetarian Day, and Mad Hatter Day. There's also Get Organized Week. Apparently one day isn't enough for that. I'm not sure I'll participate in any of these, but I'll definitely find time to celebrate National Friends of the Library Month. In fact, I'm starting right now by doing some bragging about the Friends of the Park Rapids Area Library. Since they're as humble as they are helpful, it's the one thing I know they won't get done on their own.

Our FOL chapter was founded 31 years ago by a group of people who were passionate about libraries and about their community. Some of the founding members are still a part of the group today. Our Friends of the Library meet monthly and always welcome guests and new members. They've perfected the art of "the meeting" beginning each one with Kudos and ending with "Words of Wisdom." In between, they follow Robert's Rules as they discuss finances, old and new business, upcoming events, and how to best be of service to the library.

The Friends are most visible during our quarterly book sales, but they're busy all the time. Some of them sort items weekly, continually preparing for the next sale. Others volunteer in the library to shelve books, collect statistics, and help at library-sponsored events. The Friends, along with the Crazy Quilters, are responsible for the annual quilt raffle. On the 4th of July, they join forces with Beagle Books and Third Street Market to bring us the pie baking contest and auction. They contribute regularly to the Park Rapids Area Library Foundation, which will help fund a new library one day.

Since listing everything they do might take the rest of the month, I've decided to borrow some words from a resolution written in Lake Forest, Ill.

"The work of the Friends highlights the fact that our library is a cornerstone of the community, providing opportunities for all to engage in the joy of life-long learning and connect with the thoughts and ideas of others from ages past to the present.

The Friends understand the importance of well-funded libraries, and advocate, helping ensure that our library gets the resources it needs to provide a wide variety of services to all ages.

The Friends' gift of their time and commitment to the library sets an example for all in how volunteerism leads to positive civic engagement and the betterment of our community."

Last month's words of wisdom: "Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo. But what you really want is someone who will ride the bus if the limo breaks down." (Oprah Winfrey)

I'm certain that the Friends of the Park Rapids Area Library would happily board the bus. In fact, they'd probably offer you their seat.