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VISTA Member Organizes Friends Group to Support Local LIbrary

by Reid A.

The Woodville Community Library is not only a place where citizens of Woodville, WI and the surrounding area can borrow books, audio books, and movies, but it is also a community hub of information and activity.

The Woodville Community Library puts on programs for children (such as story time and summer reading events), provides free computer and Internet use to all, serves as a meeting place for a variety of community groups, and much more in addition to the typical services of a library. The Woodville community has always been supportive of the library, and this summer the community will be taking the next step, by creating a Woodville Friends of the Library Group.

As Woodville’s VISTA Summer Associate, I have been called on to organize this effort, and I have already seen some great progress. I began the project by contacting other libraries that have Friends groups, and began to make a list of possibilities for the Woodville Friends.

The greatest source of encouragement and inspiration came out of the opportunity for me to sit in on a River Falls Library Foundation meeting. The members of the River Falls Library Foundation were happy to hear that the Woodville Community Library will be getting a support group of its own, and were eager to share their suggestions and expertise with me.

Kirby S., the Foundation President, even gave me a tour of their facilities and described how the Library Foundation had been involved in the process of numerous library projects and endeavors. The River Falls Library Foundation is a group much like a Friends group, which strives to support the efforts and actions of its community library, and I found their attitude and success to be a perfect model for the Woodville Friends.

Charged up from my session with the River Falls Library Foundation, I began to solicit possible “Friends” for the Woodville Friends of the Library, and started to perceive a genuine interest coming from the community.

Over the last two weeks, my supervisor and I held two informational sessions for people who were interested in becoming Woodville Library Friends, and are proud to say that we have the beginnings of a great group. Already we have members of the community discussing various ways that they can help the Woodville Community Library.

I am very excited about the beginnings of the Woodville Friends of the Library, and will continue to look toward the River Falls Library Foundation and other Friends groups as models of success in order to encourage forward progress of the Woodville Friends.


In these tough economic times, many libraries around the country are being threatened at the same time their services are more highly demanded than ever. Librarians and other staff members are being asked to take no-pay furloughs, and in some communities the possibility of doors closing for good is very real. But people like Reid are stepping up to make sure libraries get the support they deserve. To learn more about library Friends groups around the country, go to

Or just walk into your local library.

To learn how you can become an AmeriCorps VISTA member, go to

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