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Library is looking for a few good friends

Everyone who enters the Robert Trail Library is considered a friend but some are more like bosom buddies. Those are the people the library hopes to recruit to establish a Friends of the Robert Trail Library group.

For some of the other libraries in Dakota County, friends groups act as important partners in making the library a key community resource. They raise money, provide programming and organize events.

The librarians at Robert Trail would like to reap the benefits of such a group. So on Saturday morning the library will host a meeting in hopes that a friends group will spring up.

"They will be beneficial advocates of the library," said librarian Lindsey Dyer.

This will be the only time the staff of the library will have such direct involvement with the group. After the initial meeting, Dyer said, the library will step back and let volunteers create a group that will run independently but in partnership with the library.

Robert Trail branch manager Jaime Jurgensen said they hope to establish a group of enthusiastic library supporters that will provide volunteer and financial support.

"It's just another way to support the library and the community," said Jurgensen.

For other Dakota County libraries friends groups provide support in various ways. Pleasant Hills Library branch manager Allan Cotter, in Hastings, said his library has an active friends group.

"They allow the library to do things and have things that otherwise we wouldn't," said Cotter.

The Hastings group puts on several high profile fundraisers including two popular book sales. They use the funds to provide programming and to support the library's needs.

When the lunchroom refrigerator went out, the friends group purchased a new one. On a day to day basis members of the Hastings friends group provide support to the library through volunteer work. They also put together programming for children and teens.

"They are aware of our shortfalls and provide assistance when we need it. They are very vital to us," said Cotter.

At the Robert Trail meeting several Friends of the Heritage Library group, including president Susan Brousseau, will be in attendance to answer questions about how they got their group started a few years ago.

Brousseau has been part of the Heritage group since it started and has enjoyed being part of it.

"I get to go behind the desk. You don't know how big of a deal that is for me," said Brousseau.

Helping the library in her community is important to her because she said it provides so many things to so many people.

"The library provides services that people take for granted," said Brousseau. "It serves so many different populations."

In Lakeville the friends group helps organize programs including getting books to homebound individuals. They also provide volunteers for library events like clean-up day.

Both the Hasting and Lakeville groups have about 40 members. Cotter said members can be as active in the group as they like. Some do stuff daily while others volunteer a couple of times a year.

"People do things that interest them," said Brousseau.

Both Cotter and Brousseau wished the Robert Trail Library well and encourage interested Rosemount residents to get involved with the friends group.

"It's just plain fun," added Brousseau.

Anyone interested in helping establish a Friends of the Robert Trail Library should attend the group's first meeting Saturday, April 11 in the library meeting room. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m.