<span>Friends of the Corbin Public Library receives statewide honor</span>

Friends of the Corbin Public Library has been named the Most Outstanding Friends group in Kentucky for 2019. | Photo Contributed

CORBIN — One local library group was recently recognized for their hard work and efforts in supporting the community and their library patrons.

Friends of the Corbin Public Library has been named the Most Outstanding Friends group in Kentucky for 2019. The award was announced during the Friends of Kentucky Libraries Annual Meeting held November 16 at Spindletop Hall in Lexington.

Friends of the Corbin Public Library is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose goal is to preserve, support and strengthen Corbin Public Library. The group’s work is funded by a yearly membership drive and a multitude of other fundraising activities, including several book sales during the year. Close to 50 members paid dues this year, but members can join the group and contribute to any extent they wish in the work involved.

Much of what the friends group has worked on this year has been to support the library’s needs for the new addition to the present building. A grant awarded by Kentucky Department for Libraries & Archives (KDLA) made the addition construction possible, but the library’s budget will not allow for many necessities which need to be purchased before opening. Friends of CPL stepped up to the plate by using most of their funds ($8,500) to purchase tables and chairs needed for the Community Room and Conference Room, along with storage carts for both.

Funding was not available in the grant to put bathrooms in this addition, so the Friends of CPL wanted to raise some funding for that need. Friends member Diane Mitchell came up with the idea to have a Downton Evening at the library, offering fun that included a trivia game, Royal Name Game, a photo-taking area, and a costume contest, food consisting of high tea in the way of specialty hors d’oeuvres and a private viewing of the Downton Abbey movie at the Tri-County Cineplex.

According to Sam Tye, treasurer of Friends of CPL, the event was a huge success as it raised a little over $10,000 after bills were paid. Much of that amount came from sponsorships in different amount levels, donations, ticket sales and silent auction sales. Friends members said the event required a lot of effort but said it was worth it; people who attended seemed to have a good time.

The event was good for both publicity and fundraising, added friends member Rob Miller.

Friends of the CPL are looking to increase their number of active members.

“We certainly could use more friends and especially some who can help with the work to be done,” said Karen Nies, president.

Other support given to the library by Friends of CPL this year includes the following:

- provided the Library Edition of Ancestry.com for patrons to use for genealogy research.

- funded supplies for a local artist to use in the programs she offers at the library, and funding some supplies for the library’s quilting program.

- provided T-shirts for the library staff to wear for their Harry Potter reading event, and funding has been supplied for a luncheon to thank staff for their work, as well as a tote bag and cup for each to let them know they are appreciated.

- sponsored the 5K Run to raise funds for the new addition during the winter (around $2,000 was raised).

- responsible for the history tour and ghost tales as well as furnishing and serving free refreshments for those attending this year’s annual ghost tour.

- supplied and presented prizes for the CPL student art contests again this year.

In addition, this year Friends of CPL applied for and received a $500 grant from Kentucky Friends of Libraries which will be used for an exhibit hanging system in CPL’s new addition.

Three years ago a group of women from Berea College and the Promise Zone attended a Friends of CPL meeting with an unusual request: They were offering a five-year grant in partnership with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library which would offer free books mailed each month to children up to five years of age and they needed a 501c3 non-profit to be the fiscal agent. They had been unable to find a group willing to do this in Knox County, however, the grant was only for children in Knox County, and Corbin’s library is located in Whitley County. After some deliberation, Friends of Corbin Public Library decided to take on the task of being their fiscal agent because it was a wonderful opportunity for the children who did qualify.

During the second funding year, children located in the 40701 zip code were accepted as qualifying as well. As a result of Friends of CPL accepting this challenge, the Corbin Library Friends group received an unexpected donation of $60,000 from Pilot designated to continue the Dolly Parton Imagination Library when the Berea five year grant ends. Children in our area will be assured the books in their mailboxes for years to come. Approximately 1000 children in our area receive books each month thanks to the Promise Zone grant, Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and the Friends of Corbin Public Library.

Membership request letters are being mailed soon to begin the 2020 membership year. Friends members Ed Tye and Robert Nies encourage all members to renew their memberships, and if you haven’t become a member yet, sign up for a membership.

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