Friends of the Library – Lively and Thriving

By Dot Bergin

friends logoWith their ever-popular and highly successful donated book sales, the Friends of the Bedford Free Public Library are experts in raising money. More importantly, they are equally skilled in spending their funds.

As Treasurer Jerry Wolf reported at the Friends’ Annual Meeting on December 10, major expenditures this year totaled a whopping $36,634, which “bought” everything from an upgraded AV system for the Library Meeting Room to Professor Dan Breen’s history lectures to a full range of activities for children.

Major items paid for by the Friends included 103 TV season-sets on DVD for $3600; museum passes for $6,000, supplies and programming for children, $7900, and Teen Center support, $2100. As Wolf commented, the Children’s Librarian comes up with innovative and expanded programs because she knows the Friends “are good for supporting her ideas.” One of the smallest outlays of funds-a mere $140-provided one of the most popular Library offerings, the two Mobile “hot spots” that patrons may borrow to use in remote locations.

Library Director Richard Callaghan thanked the Friends on behalf of the staff and Trustees for their continuing and invaluable support, saying the array of special programs on offer would not be possible without their efforts. Three times a year – on Patriots Day, on Bedford Day, and in December, the Friends sort and price the donated books that come in during the year. It’s a monumental effort, calling for brains and brawn. Hats off to the dedicated volunteers who make it all happen!

Callaghan said Prof. Breen’s lectures will begin a bit later in the spring this year, with the first scheduled for Sunday afternoon, February 26, continuing each week until the end of March. This year’s history theme is “Little Known Elections in American History,” and, given Professor Breen’s lively lecture style, this timely topic is sure to attract a large audience.

The Friends are also supporting the revival of “One Book, One Bedford,” in partnership with the Library and The Bedford Citizen. The book selected-actually a trilogy-is the graphic memoir March, by Congressman John Lewis, which re-creates the history of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and portrays Lewis’ staunch belief in non-violent action. The book culminates in the signing of the Civil Rights Act by President Lyndon Johnson. The third volume of March won this year’s National Book Award for young people’s literature. You will be hearing much more about this event in the new year.

There are now 281 members of the Friends. If you would like to be a part of this thriving organization, you may sign up online ( or at the Library circulation desk. Co-Presidents Susan Rogalski and Bonnie Kelly, along with Co-Vice Presidents  Margaret Jackson and Renee O’Donnell, and Treasurer Wolf are continuing in the second year of their two-year term. Sheila Albrecht was elected Secretary. Members at Large, serving a one year term, are Linda Connelly, Patricia Dunlea, Sabine Gossart, Robin Grace, Suzanne Harris, Beverley Matthews, Greg Matthews, Janet Schimelfenyg, Elaine Shwimer, and Doris Smith.

Editor’s Note: Corrected on December 14, 2016 to properly state the Friends’ leadership structure for the coming year.

Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: or 781-325-8606

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