Friends at 50!

Aired January 12, 2023.

The members of the Friends of the Needham Public Library have raised funds and organized programs for over fifty years.

reported by Kathryn Brodie
In 1973, Needham residents came together to organize used book sales and donated the proceeds to the library. Over time, they also held programs and events to encourage community engagement and became known as Friends of the Needham Public Library. Now they’re celebrating their 50th anniversary and hope to gain new members for the occasion.

Margaret Pantridge, Friends of the Needham Public Library Vice President:
In Needham, we’re very lucky that people are so generous in giving their books, and generous buying books from our book sales so that over the years, we’ve given hundreds of thousands of dollars to enhance the library beyond what can reasonably be expected to be supported by taxpayer dollars.

In addition to their book sales throughout the year, the Friends host a variety of programs varying from author talks to film screenings which the public is encouraged to attend.

Margaret Pantridge:
Every year we have a series. It’s usually of interest to adults. We also fund children’s programs and we always try to offer a rich assortment of different topics. Many of our speakers are authors, sometimes they’re artists.

Our regulars are probably people who are 50 and above,but depending on the topic, we sometimes get families with children or people of any age in any description.

Ultimately, the Friends hope to support the library monetarily and get community members excited to engage in thoughtful discussion and sharing new ideas. This year for their 50th anniversary, they’re hoping to get 50 new members signed up.

Margaret Pantridge:
The best way to sign up right now is to simply Google Friends of the Needham Public Library and you’ll go to our website and follow the prompts and there’s a membership page where you can sign up and pay online for your membership. We really welcome anyone who’s interested in the library.

The Friends is important because the library is important. When you think about our divisive society, what better place for people to come together around ideas, to have civic discourse, to learn before they speak, to create the kind of civil society that we all really want to live in. In Needham, we have a very special group of people who form the core of their friends, people who’ve been dedicated in some cases for decades to the library working on the book sale or working on the programs and it is an expression of the kind of community Needham is, where people really value education and where civil society does still exist.

This story ran as part of the Needham Channel News, a weekly newscast airing on The Needham Channel every Thursday at 7:30pm. The Needham Channel News can be found on the Community Channel: Comcast 9, Astound 15 and Verizon 29. Most Thursdays it also can be viewed on our HD Channel on Verizon 2129, Astound 613 and streaming on this site.
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