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At the Library: Library has many friends, and a sale

The Cloquet Public Library is a City of Cloquet department and is funded by the tax dollars of our community members. We currently have 13 library staff members running the library. We are also supported by many more people behind the scenes, including the people who make up the Friends of the Cloquet Public Library.

The Friends of the Library supports many areas, including coordinating library book sales, assisting library staff with shelving books, taking care of the outdoor garden areas, volunteering at some of the big library events and blood drives, and a lot more.

One of the most vital ways Friends supports us is providing funding for library programs. All of the programs we offer, such as the Summer Reading Program, after-school programs, genealogy, cooking, and chair yoga programs, are supported directly by funds raised by the Friends library book sales.

Right now, the Friends group is working hard to get ready for the upcoming Big Library Book Sale this Saturday, Sept. 23. This will be the first Big Sale since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Would you like to take part in supporting the library? If so, please consider visiting the Big Library Book Sale between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday. It is an affordable way for you to stock up on great books and movies before winter arrives.

To find out more about this wonderful volunteer group, we offer the following exchange with Pat Brandstaetter, president of Friends of the Cloquet Public Library.

QWould you briefly introduce yourself?

AI’m Pat, I’ve been president of the Friends of the Cloquet Library for 10 years. It is a joy to participate in the activities and mission of our community library. We currently have 36 Friends of the Cloquet Library who participate in some or all of our volunteer activities. The Cloquet Library is a small gem within a locally involved and giving-back community.

QCan you briefly describe what the Friends of the Library do for the Cloquet Public Library?

AFriends of the Library coordinate most volunteer efforts within the library, including book sales. At this time we have one or two large sales per year and the Friends bookroom is open each Tuesday from 12:30-1:30 pm for a weekly sale. In addition, we open a book sale to coincide with other library activities. Our motto is “if someone is in the bookroom … we are open.” All sales are donations only, so people give what they can afford.

In addition to all our in-house activities, we also participate in activities onsite and in the community. We handed out book sales flyers at the West End event last Saturday. Friends volunteer to assist with funding and all activities provided at the Library.

All Friends participation is on a volunteer basis. There is a sign-up sheet in the Friends room for each upcoming activity, plus mailing goes out to members to request help.

A small group of Friends review and document the value of each donated book, pack up the sellable books to send to a book clearing house, and typically make about $500 per year to support library staff and program needs.

QAre you currently looking for more Friends?

AFriends of the Cloquet Library always welcome new Friends to our group. If you are

interested in a fun, flexible volunteer experience we want to hear from you. It’s easy. Just pick up a brochure at the main desk, fill out a required background check document and we will call you to respond to questions you may have. We typically pair a new volunteer with a seasoned one to assist with questions and provide “how to” experience. Friends enjoy the volunteer opportunity and the ability to pick and choose as their daily life experiences allow.

QDo you have anything else you would like the community to know about the Friends of the Library?

AWe are you — part of our community. We all love books and learning and promoting the use of the library. We respond to patron requests for specific authors, titles, and even books about specific topics. If you come to the Friends book room you will see names, phone numbers, and books requested by patrons taped to the cupboard. We love the Friends vibe with our patrons. Come visit … and become a Friend of a great little progressive library.

Keiko Satomi is the adult services librarian at Cloquet Public Library.

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