Imagine Rodman Public Library is a big tree.
Each department of the library is its own limb. And each program and service of those departments is a twig.
Sitting at the top of that tree, with watchful eyes and helping hands, is a wise owl – the Friends of Rodman Public Library.
“We are here to supplement the library budget,” explains Friends of Rodman Public Library President Barb Burley. “I like to say we help pay for everything except books and electric. By that, I mean that we help pay for things the library needs for various programs or other items that the library needs.”
Funding from the Friends of Rodman Library helps pay for things such as prizes and other materials for the annual summer reading program, all materials for adult and children’s craft programs, appearance fees for special program presenters, and popcorn for movie showings.
The Friends of Rodman Public Library helped launch the Dolly Parton Imagination Library project at Rodman Library. It also contributes to the Fogle Author Series and makes a large contribution to the One Book One Community program each year.
In the past, the organization has also purchased equipment such as projectors and computers and helped fund the Alliance Memory Project.
“We help out with just about everything the library needs,” said Burley, who has been a member of the Friends for more than 20 years and president for the past six years. “That is our sole purpose.”
There are approximately 300 Friends of Rodman Public Library members with about 100 of those being active.
Always willing to step up and volunteer to provide assistance at RPL, the Friends hold several fundraisers throughout the year, the biggest being the annual used book sale during the week of Alliance’s Carnation Festival. Although the sale only runs five days, the work of collecting and organizing the books, magazines and media materials is a year-long operation.
The committee and hundreds of volunteer workers -- approximately 130 of them for the 2021 used book sale -- make the book sale a success, raising in excess of $10,000 each year.
“We have been a pretty strong organization,” said Burley, noting Friends of Rodman Public Library was established in 1978. “We have been around for 44 years now and there has never been a time that we haven’t been active.”
Those wishing to become a member of Rodman Public Library can do so at the circulation desks at either the Main Library or The Branch. Memberships, which cost an annual fee of $5 for individuals 15 years old and older or $25 or more for those wishing to have patron status, are also available at the annual book sale, which will be held Saturday, August 6 through Wednesday, August 10 at the Alliance Neighborhood Center, located at 405 S. Linden Ave.
The opening day of the sale is always reserved as a members-only day.
Throughout the year, the Friends accept donations of used books to be sold during sales conducted by the group. They also encourage patrons who love the library to make monetary gifts, endowments, and bequests to Rodman Public Library.
“We believe that giving either money or time, whatever you can, to the library is a worthwhile endeavor,” said Burley. “If we didn’t believe that, we wouldn’t be here.”