WHO WE ARE:
The Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library (the Friends) is a committed non-profit group of volunteers which operates the Friends Book Shop in the downtown library and supports the activities of the Ann Arbor District Library. The Friends support the AADL’s mission of assuring public ownership of and access to information and services. We encourage community participation in the library’s services and resources as patrons and volunteers. In addition, the Friends serve as an advocate for the AADL and its constituencies and raise funds for the benefit of the library.
The Friends donate $100,000 to the Ann Arbor District Library annually, and since 2001 well over one million dollars have been donated. This money goes to support children’s programs at the library, including:
- The Summer Game – the summer reading program
- Second Grade visits to the Library
- “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Writing Contest
The Friends of the Ann Arbor Public Library was formed in May of 1953. (When the library became a district library the name was changed to Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library.) The Friends were formed from two groups of Ann Arbor citizens who were interested and involved in a proposed new library. At that time the Friends were instrumental in recommending and lobbying for a central site for the location for the new library. The Friends Board also took an active role in the design process, and proposed a bookmobile service to reach readers living at a distance from the library. This led to the establishment of the branches, which were advocated for by the Friends, through lobbying and support for millages. The Friends also helped to furnish the branches. The Friends have been involved in the planning and advocacy for the millages for subsequent additions to the library and for operating revenues.
Fund-raising began in 1954 with a yard sale at the site of the present downtown library, where books, records, picture frames, baked goods, and flowers were sold. This sale raised $348, which paid for the rental of the first bookmobile. More annual book sales were held, often on the porch of the library. In 1980 the Friends opened a book shop in the library’s conference room. In 1984 the book shop began to be open weekends from October through April, and has grown into the Friends Book Shop we know today. The Friends contribution to the library has grown from that first $348, 62 years ago to over $100,000 per year.