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Northwest library group looking to build membership

By Staff | Jan 19, 2009

The building itself is still in its early stages, but the foundation for the Northwest Regional Library is being laid right now.
The Friends of the Northwest Regional Library group has been in operation for some time, trying to establish the same type of support system all other Lee County branches share. Friends of library groups raise funding for programs and materials not covered within the Lee County’s library budget.
Now, the Friends of the Northwest Regional Library wants to expand its membership. It is looking for new members who have a substantial amount of free time on their hands, as the majority of the current members work full-time.
“What we really need now are people who have the time to do the footwork,” said the group’s secretary, Patricia Ferio. “We have the ideas and plans, but not the time to do it.”
Construction on the 40,000-square-foot library is scheduled to be completed in September, making it one of the largest public libraries in Lee County. The library will feature a large “friends area,” as well as exhibit space that will cater to traveling, museum quality exhibitions.
Ava Barret, principal librarian and regional manager for the new branch, said the first exhibit will be “Visions of the Universe: 400 Years of Discovery,” on loan from NASA.
She also touted the Friends of the Library groups as essential components of the Lee County system, offering volunteer support and financial assistance with selected programs.
“They are part of the nuts and bolts of library operations,” Barrett said. “The libraries that don’t do well are the ones that don’t have friends groups.”
Ferio, a full-time graphic designer in Fort Myers, said she joined the group to support her husband, who will eventually be the youth service librarian at the Northwest Branch. She also has a history volunteering in the community, having worked as a former designer with the Cultural Park Theatre.
She said the group is open to anyone who wants to help out the library and make a difference in the community. She just hopes incoming volunteers have some time on their hands to really help get things moving.
She said the group is busy making plans, but has no time to execute them.
“Our biggest need is people who have time to generate help with the footwork,” she said. “Not just planning, but doing some of the actual work.”
For more information on the Friends of Northwest Regional Library, or to become a member of the group, e-mail friendsnwlibrary@yahoo.com or call Ava Barrett 461-7378.
Those interested can also contact Amy Bray, Friends of Northwest Library president, at 246-5581.