Possumhaw: Strong libraries = strong communities



Shannon Bardwell



"Bad libraries build collections, good libraries build services, great libraries build communities." 


R. David Lankes, passionate advocate for librarians 




What if I told you that you could fill a whole big bag full of books of all shapes, sizes and subjects and you'd only have to pay $5. If you're a reader then it would be terrific, but even if you weren't a reader but you knew a reader, it would still be fabulous. You know a single book can cost $25-35 or more and then be discarded after the first reading, but with the fill-a-bag deal you can pay pennies for a hardback book, even a bestseller; then keep the book or share it with a friend for little of nothing. It would be like the gift that keeps on giving and giving. You can even donate the book back to the library. 


These special book sales are held at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library. The Friends of the Library have created a small bookstore on the second level. It's open nine times a year when the Friends host a regular sale where books range from about $1 to $2 for a hardback book. Three times a year, members of the Friends of the Library are invited to a special book sale where members can fill up to three bags of books for $5 a bag. If you're wondering, here's the catch. 


Everyone is invited to be a Friend. The membership fee is $12; that's one dollar a month. The next regular book sale will be April 4 and 6 and is open to everyone. The 2018 book sales came to $3,309.88. These funds are used to buy more books and support library programs.  


Public libraries are crucial to our community, even if you don't personally use the library, other adults, children and teens do. The library's mission statement is to assist citizens of Lowndes County in pursuit of education, information, recreation, research and culture.  


According to librarytechnology.org, the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library serves 59,670 people. The library houses 68,759 volumes and performs 84,523 transactions annually.  


The following is a partial listing of library programs available to all and supported and encouraged by the Friends of the Library: Black History Month, Dr. Seuss Birthday Party, Mother Goose Valentine's Tea Party, Introduction program to families with special needs children, Women's History Month, National Quilting Day, Teen Programs, National Library Week, Meet a Cop Breakfast, Local History Programs, Summer Library Program in four locations, Haunted Library, Family History Month, and the Festival of Trees and Snow Day events.  


Friends of the Library describe their mission and purpose as being "a volunteer organization dedicated to the active promotion and support of the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library. We work to build and maintain an association of persons interested in the library, its services, facilities, and needs and to develop supplemental funding to assist in promoting the use and enjoyment of the library by the community."  


So, my friend, walk right up and step right in and ask a staff member at the service desk about being a Friend of the Library. Everybody can use a Friend.


Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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