The Friends of Barton Library are hoping to grow their ranks this year, and to that end, the nonprofit will host an open house this week.
Joan Murphree, president of the organization's board, said the event this week is a way for the Friends of Barton Library to get involved with the community again after stepping back from holding events during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"COVID hit and we decided not to meet for a while, but the board has been meeting the whole time, and we thought things were better so we decided to have a meeting and bring everybody back in line," Murphree explained.
At last count, there were 50-60 dues-paying Friends of Barton Library, Murphree said. The open house will be an opportunity for members and non-members to come together and learn what the Friends are all about.
"Our theme is going to be 'Cozy Up to Reading' and basically we're just going to get back in touch with everybody. There'll be door prizes and refreshments, they can learn about the Friends of Barton Library and become a member if they like and just meet other library patrons," Murphree said.
The Friends of Barton Library hosts two annual book sales at the Barton Library, one in the spring and one in the fall. Money raised through the sales helps to fund library initiatives, including upgrades in the children's library and other special projects.
"We've gotten new tables for the children's library, a new rug for the children's library, things like that. Book and things the library needs," Murphree said, noting that the first purpose of the Friends, according to their bylaws, is to provide financial and volunteer support to the Union County Public Library System.
Murphree said dues for the Friends of Barton Library are $5 annually for an individual; $10 per year for a family; or, one can pay for a lifetime membership for $100.
"A lot of times people just haven't been to the library in a while, so it's good to get back in touch with the library, see what they have to offer and everything," she said.
The Cozy Up to Reading Open House will be held this Thursday, Jan. 26, from 5-7p.m. at the Barton Library, 200 E. 5th St. Murphree said anyone, regardless of whether they're a member of the Friends of Barton Library already or not, is welcome to attend.