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Local library gets support from ‘Friends’

Community members of all ages enjoy the many books, events and services offered by the Demopolis Public Library. But do they know who is behind it all?

The Friends of the Demopolis Public Library provide financial support for the library so they can host events, offer services, stock up on books and stay updated on technology.

“We support the library. We try to fund those things that the library doesn’t have the money for. We try to help them stay current,” said Caroline Cowling, president of the organization and member for the past 12 years.

According to Cowling, the self-funded group helps library director Morgan Grimes with whatever projects or needs she is currently working on.

“Morgan is very good about finding grants and writing grants for the library,” she said.

The goal of the organization is to “supply the supplies she needs at the library,” and they deliver.

“The generosity of our Friends of the Library members helps enhance the services and programs we offer to the community. Imagining our library without Friends is like imagining our library without books,” Grimes said.

There are no requirements to join, and most of the members are passionate enough to keep coming back.

“Most of our members have been members for a long time,” Cowling said.

One of the many things that the Friends fund is art education in schools, such as the library’s recent project teaching art to Demopolis second-graders at Westside Elementary School for Rooster Day in partnership with Kirk Brooker and Two Rivers Art Council.

If you’re looking to do more than just provide financial support, look no further than the library itself.

“They can always use volunteers there to help,” Cowling said.

They are funded mainly by membership dues, donations and fundraising events.

There is a yearly board meeting and a newsletter that keeps everyone up to date with library news and events.

Most members join in October during the annual membership drive. Fees vary depending on whether the Friend is a student, an individual, a couple, a sponsor, a patron or a business and can be found on the library’s website.

Cowling said that the Demopolis Public Library, which she described as a “very active community center”, stands apart from libraries event from huge urban areas.

“The important of that library to Demopolis—coming from a large urban city—I find this library to be an absolute jewel.”

The library brings everyone in the community together, including visitors who are camping in Foscue or Spillway Park, thanks to number of programs offered.

Cowling said that members are always welcome, as are volunteers.

“We can always use new members. We welcome everybody and we certainly encourage everybody to use the library.”

(This column originally appeared in the Wednesday, May 9 issue of the Demopolis Times.)