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Support North Port Libraries: Letter from FOSSPL Co-President

Have you ever thought about how Sarasota County services are funded—its public libraries specifically? North Port has two, the North Port Library and the Shannon Staub Library. Basically, the County builds and staffs its libraries with public access computers and materials: books, music, DVDs, magazines, and newspapers, to name a few. The County also maintains buildings and grounds, BUT there are some services which it does not provide, and that’s where Library Friends groups come into play.  

I am the co-president of the Friends of Shannon Staub public Library, Inc (FOSSPL), and I need your help.  We are an all-volunteer 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Our dedicated core group works to raise funds in support of Shannon Staub library programming for toddlers to seniors, among them: preschool story time, children’s activity hour, Lego club, teen DIY crafts, chess club, scavenger hunts, and a host of others. Our fundraising also extends to supplies for a pop-up coloring lounge, craft workshops, and the Creation Station which boasts a 3-D printer.  FOSSPL has also underwritten costs for a children’s 3-D printer called Toybox, an outdoor movie screen, telescopes, binoculars, sewing machines, furniture for the library’s two outdoor reading gardens, a fabric gazebo, and other larger items.

Why am I sharing all of this?  Because, although we already have a dedicated group of volunteers, we need far more people who value libraries to join us in fulfilling our mission to support our library’s top-notch programs and expand them. Among FOSSPL volunteer opportunities are staffing FriendShop, our wonderful used bookstore, as well as our brand new FriendShop Extension Kiosk located at the library’s front entrance. We need additional members for our Friends group, and we especially need new members on our board of directors. FriendShop income and membership dues are the backbone of our fundraising operation.

Currently our board of directors meets monthly on the second Thursday at 3:00 pm in the library. FriendShop and Kiosk shifts are brief: just two hours Monday through Saturday; we’re open 10 am to 4 pm.  Annual FOSSPL membership is $25 and, with your membership card, you receive $1 off a $5 purchase in our FriendShop and early access to our popular $7 fill-a-bag sales!  

Volunteering for FOSSPL is rewarding—many new friendships are formed. Our staff roster runs the age gamut from teens to folks in their 80s, and we welcome people of all backgrounds to reflect the beautiful diversity in our city.  If you think any of these opportunities might be for you, please contact FOSSPL at libraryfriends@mail.com; visit our website at www.friendsofsspl.org; or contact me at wgobin1@hotmail.com. Thank you to all of our current volunteers. I hope to see some new faces soon!

Bill Gobin, Co-President

Friends of Shannon Staub Public Library, Inc.

North Port