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Valuable friends

Gladys Kosty, Pat Norman and Peggy Brown all share a love.

Their passion is for the Post Falls Library and the books it embraces.

Each woman makes it a priority in their lives to volunteer several hours each month as members of the Friends of the Post Falls Library.

Kosty, a retired English teacher, likes being surrounded by books.

“I love being a volunteer here,” Kosty says with a warm smile.

Norman, who is president of the Friends, says she was looking for something to do after she retired.

“I was hoping to find something that fit my lifestyle,” Norman says. “This is a perfect fit.”

Brown, chairman of the Twice Told Used Bookstore committee, says the energetic and enthusiastic library volunteers make her job easy.

“The library encourages volunteerism as one way to involve members of the community in library activities,” says Brown. “Volunteers love this library and make my job easy.”

The Friends of the Post Falls Library charter dates back to Feb. 10, 1964, and included 14 original members.

In 1983, local residents Jo Russell and Lillian Henderson, who still volunteer today, were part of a group that faithfully came to the library every Tuesday to do whatever was asked of them. Those jobs included cleaning the pantry, landscaping and typing library cards.

“Our biggest task was putting every book in the library on the computer,” Russell says. “We were not organized, not professional, but we were hard workers.”

Although membership has been up and down over the years, a core volunteer group formed in 1997 to help spread the word about the need for a new library and to encourage people to vote. These volunteers have been busy ever since.

Twice Told Used Bookstore, a nonprofit business located within the Post Falls Library, is managed by the Friends and was open in time to celebrate the library’s dedication in December 1999.

The purpose of the bookstore is to provide funds for the purchase of special things for the library that are over-and-above-the library’s operating budget, to support all library programs and to provide book bargains for library patrons.

“The bookstore is run like a real business,” says Brown. “One hundred percent of the proceeds go back to the library.”

This group of volunteers raises money for everything from furniture to musical concerts. They also provide the extra labor needed for most library programs and events, volunteering countless hours.

The Friends first purchase was a large illuminated world globe that stands near the library reference desk.

More recent endeavors have been to create a $1,000 annual scholarship for library staff members who want to pursue library-related studies and to buy books for the 150 children who participated in the library’s Summer Reading Program.

“Every child that comes to the Summer Reading Program leaves with a book,” Brown says. “It helps the children develop a love for reading.”

According to Librarian Joe Reiss, volunteerism has played a vital role in the success of the Post Falls Library.

“The Friends of the Library are the library’s guardian angels,” says Reiss. “They have helped to create and maintain a very special community resource. The Friends are an indispensable part of the library family. They are a community treasure.”