A Message from Our President

Ann Bailey-Mitchell

My name is Angela (Ann) Bailey-Mitchell. I am the newly elected president of the Friends of the Library. I am a practicing wife, mom, and grandmother. I’m also a native Memphian, a graduate of Overton High School and The University of Tennessee. I earned an MBA from Webster University with a focus on Marketing. I teach marketing at Bethel University, and I am a supplier diversity consultant.

I have a strong relationship with Christ. I love my family, my dog, and my friends (not necessarily in that order). I also love the library. My mother was a librarian and nurtured my love of books and reading. My work at the Cordova Friends of the Library led me to volunteer at the main Friends of the Library first as a substitute liaison, then as secretary, and now as president.

I encourage you to join your Friends of the Library at your local branch and ask how you can get involved. If you don’t know whom to contact, please call Ashley Gipson at 901-415-2840.

Please volunteer with me this year to support our library, and our hard-working staff to provide the best services and programs to our community. Your membership and service are key to the success of our libraries. I am so excited to serve and work with the staff at all 18 branches as well as support our four signature (In Bold) events and other community programs.

All My Best,
Ann Bailey-Mitchell
[email protected]

2024 Friends Events

March 21Richard Wright Literary Awards
April 18-21Spring Book Sale
April 6Bookstock
April 7-13National Library Week
July 19Senior Health Fair
SeptemberTeen Arts Fest
October 20-26National Friends of the Library Week
October 24-27Fall Book Sale
October 31Boo Books

‘BOO-Books with Friends’ Offers Safe, Halloween Fun!

Parents, are you looking for a safe place to spend Halloween that will satisfy your child’s sweet tooth? BOO-Books with Friends is the perfect place!

Mark your family’s calendar for 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31 at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Ave.).

Little ghosts and goblins from birth to age 12 are encouraged to wear their costumes and bring Halloween baskets to stock up on free books for readers of all ages, candy, healthy snacks and more.

Plus, children’s librarians at Memphis Public Libraries have a few surprise activities in store for all kids who attend!

To learn more about this fun, family-friendly event, call 901-415-2840.

New Storefront At Second Editions

Your favorite gently-used bookstore has received a facelift! Second Editions Bookstore, located in the lobby of the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Ave.) will soon have a new look that’s bound to attract attention. The new storefront, designed by longtime graphic artist Lonnie Robinson, will be installed in October 2019.

Too many people enter the library and do not realize that there is a bookstore there. We hope to increase awareness so that more people will visit, shop and raise revenue by 10 to 20 percent.

Funds raised through Second Editions Bookstore will directly support programs at all 18 Memphis Public Library locations citywide.

With a clear objective in mind, Robinson said he began to translate the Friends’ goals into an attractive and eye-catching design.

The existing storefront of Second Editions Bookstore will soon be a thing of the past, as plans for installing a new design are finalized.

“I began to look at storefronts around the country and eventually found one in North Hollywood,” Robinson said. “I wanted to make the entrance grander but not over the top, and bolder so that when you enter the library, you couldn’t miss it. I really wanted it to have an appearance of something new and more inviting, and to include a floor graphic to make better use of the space.”

An avid book lover himself, Robinson said he was always taught the value of a book.

“My mother and grandmother taught me that a library is a building that you just should not pass. So, it makes me feel great to know that I’m supporting Libraries, Friends and the citizenry,” Robinson said.

Hoping to encourage readers not to pass by either, Robinson commented on the value that shoppers will find on the other side of Second Editions’ doors. “When we hear the term ‘used,’ we think ‘downgrade.’ I always laugh to hear someone all a book ‘used’ because, when you think about a book, it is an upgrade that it has been used. It is at its greatest value when it is used; when more people are reading, it’s a win-win for everyone involved!”

Friends’ Senior Health Fair to Become Annual Event

Memphis Library Friends are making Shelby County senior citizens’ older years their golden years, through new programs and events like the Senior Health Fair.

Hosted at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Ave.), the event attracted more than 1,500 attendees and 70 vendors offered valuable information about health, nutrition, cooking, exercise, orthopedics, travel and more! Food trucks and seminars on fall prevention and how to lead healthy lifestyle also added to customers’ experience.

“Friends were looking for a signature event for adults. This idea came from our Memphis Public Libraries’ Adult Services Librarian Wang-Ying Glasgow, and we loved it! “We plan to make this an annual event.”

When asked how she arrive at the idea, Glasgow commented, “The idea came to me, instead of the other way around. We wanted to improve the quality of life for seniors. Through other programs and partnerships with other agencies, we wanted to offer a centrally-located health fair that would benefit seniors.”

Using a model similar to Memphis Public Libraries’ annual Bookstock, the Adult Services Group and Friends of the Library developed the concept but with a health care twist. After assembling a committee to plan the fair, Glasgow said the event “sold itself,” as vendors lined up to participate.

“One thing vendors and seniors really liked was the nonprofit, non-soliciting approach. Vendors said they loved having the event at Central Library because it is centrally-located and best of all – free to participate,” Glasgow said.

“As the sole sponsor of the Fair, Friends were great,” Glasgow continued. “They purchased sturdy bags for everyone who entered to collect their information and offered free refreshments. The Friends didn’t just give money alone; they were involved, and all the hard work paid off!”

For more information about the next Senior Health Fair, call 901-415-2840.

Conversation with the President

President Jacqueline Wallace

Get to know the Friends of the Library President Jacqueline Wallace through this one-on-one discussion about the Friends’ mission, programs, new initiatives and more. Join the conversation by emailing your questions to [email protected].

How did you get involved with Friends?

I initially got involved with Friends because I was a home-school mom, and I was visiting the library to teach my children the old-fashioned way to do research. The Frayser Library was having a Friends of the Library event. I had actually never heard of the Friends of the Library event. A Friends member approached me and asked if I would join Friends. They told me all about Friends and invited me to join the Board and come to a Board meeting. I came to a few Board meetings, I became interested in their efforts, and I became a member. That was around 12 years ago.

How would you describe your years as a Friend of the Library and as Friends President?

My three years as president have been more than exciting! Initially, I was a very reluctant president. I had had cancer, and I had taken off for around a year. I was trying to decide how to use my time and talents.

I wanted to try something new and different in my life. I finally decided to become president, and it has been a whirlwind of an exhilarating experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far!

How would you describe your leadership style?

When Friends and supporters come to me with ideas, as president, I want to encourage those ideas. I’m all about trying because I want everyone in this city to know who Friends of the Library are.

In my three years as president, we have gone from around 500 Friends to around 1,300 Friends memberships, and I want that number to grow to 5,000 or more.

The Friends’ call-to-action is “Donate. Volunteer. Join.” Could you explain that mantra?

“Donate. Volunteer. Join” is a three-legged stool that I like to call the call-to-action for all that we do as Friends of the Library. Number one is “Donate.” Donate books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, VHS and sheet music. Absolutely nothing will go to waste. We want it all!

If you are a donor with an enormous donation of books, contact the library, and we will arrange to have your items picked up. The books that people donate – that’s how we get our monies – 100 percent. Every penny is turned around and put back into the library because we all are volunteers, so I’m excited that we’re able to help fund more than 6,000 programs for the Library.

Number two is “Volunteer.” Volunteer in your community at different branches. When you volunteer, become a Friend or start a Friends group, the potential of what you can offer your community through Friends is absolutely unlimited to make your community safer, more literate, fun and a great place for your children to grow.

The next thing we want you to do is “Join” the Friends. Your Library card is not the same as a Friends membership. We have 17 Library branches. People can join the Friends in their different communities. To get started, you have a budget, you have people and you know the unique nuances in your community. Friends work with the Library branch manager to bring to your community the things that you want to see!

What are some of the benefits of joining Friends?

When you join Friends, you become an advocate for the library. As a member of Friends, you will enjoy a discount when you come into our Second Editions Bookstore – 10 percent every single day. And at the preview sale for our book sales twice a year, you get to come to the preview party, which is a masquerade party because it is in October and you get first picks at books, magazines and other items. It’s not your average book sale, which could be like watching paint dry. It’s a party atmosphere!

A new membership benefit is that you also have access to the City of Memphis Credit Union. You also receive a very nice membership bag. You get priority seating at Friends events, like Five Fridays of Jazz and a beverage of your choice. The benefits are many, so “Donate.  Volunteer. Join.”

Friends Build Home Libraries for Habitat Homeowners

Making a house feel more like home for Mid-South families is the purpose of a new partnership between the Memphis Library Friends and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis. The new literacy initiative, which started earlier this year, benefits Habitat for Humanity homeowners throughout Shelby County by including a new bookcase and books for every family member in each new home.

Friends of the Library President Jacqueline Wallace helped to spearhead the program.

“We want each home to be a haven for an opportunity to have well-read children. Habitat for Humanity informs Friends about the specifics for each family, like their ages and reading genre, and we fill bookcases from there,” Wallace said.

Friends’ bookcases and books have already found new homes in Shelby County Habitat for Humanity areas. Homeowner Tawana Clemons was one of the first to receive a new home library. “I have always taught my children that the best gift you can give or receive is knowledge,” Clemons said. “Thank you so much for thinking of my family for such a blessing!”

“We at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis are so pleased that the Friends of the Library is donating new bookcases and gently-used books to every new Habitat homeowner in Shelby County,” noted Juliet Douglas of Habitat for Humanity. “Better, affordable living conditions lead to stronger childhood development, and access to more books is an important part of that. We greatly appreciate the generosity of the Friends and look forward to delighting many more families through this wonderful endeavor!”

For more information about this new literacy initiative, call 901-415-2840.

Friends Partner to Support New Library Houses

Friends have teamed up again with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis and Rotary International District 6800 to celebrate World Polio Day October 24Building for a Change – A Foundation to End Polio Now.

For this new initiative, a bakers dozen of “library houses” will be built and placed in Habitat neighborhoods. A thirteenth little library will be placed in an area to uplift homeless populations through easy access to books. Friends of the Library will provide books for each little library and will replenish them as needed. It’s another way that Friends are “Changing Memphis – One Book at a Time”!


Senior Health Fair Helps Hundreds

FOL Senior Health Fair IMG1 (2)

The Friends’ recent Senior Health Fair was an overwhelming success, with hundreds of senior citizens and their families in attendance to learn more about how to improve their health.

Held at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, the fair was intended to draw attention to some of the health issues that plague communities and to offer helpful resources from a variety of vendors.

“Friends of the Library contribute to the holistic health of communities, not just educational and academic,” noted Friends President Jacqueline Wallace, who is a registered nurse. “We want people to know that Friends care, and we want to introduce our seniors to better health practices and community agencies that specialize in these areas. Ultimately, we want to make seniors’ older years their golden years!”

Dozens of agencies participated in the fair, helping to make it a success.

“We couldn’t have done it without our vendors,” Wallace said. “We certainly appreciate all they did to support and uplift this Friends event and the Memphis community.”

For more information about other upcoming Friends of the Library programs and events, call 901-415-2840.

Branch Highlight: Cornelia Crenshaw Library

Entering the doors of Cornelia Crenshaw Branch Library (531 Vance Ave.) might feel like home. A warm welcome from staff members and overall family feel has made this small but impactful library a main attraction in South Memphis for generations. Named after Civil Rights activist and trailblazer Cornelia Crenshaw and only blocks away from the local headquarters of the NAACP, this historic haven is rich with culture, Southern hospitality and a love for learning. This can be seen by the DiscoverREAD Learning Center for kids and parents that encourages family time and educational play; the rows of computers for public use; creative and fun library displays about current events or upcoming holidays; and shelves of books on a near-endless variety of topics.

“Every day, we try to make a difference in Memphis, one customer at a time, one interaction at a time,” said Branch Manager Inger Upchurch. “There’s nothing more rewarding than to see smiles on customers’ faces after they’ve polished their resumes or attended a library program or holiday party. We identify our customers’ needs and work to supply that. But, working with the kids is the best! Making a difference for them is certainly a long-standing passion of mine.”

But one thing Cornelia Crenshaw Library doesn’t have is Friends. This literary force in South Memphis needs a driver, and we hope that person to start a Friends organization to raise funds and support programs, events, and other needs at Cornelia Crenshaw Library is you!

“Everyone could use a ‘Friend,’” Upchurch continued, “and by becoming our Friend, you will make many more friends than you could ever imagine!”

For more information on how to start a Friends group at Cornelia Crenshaw Library, call 901-415-2840.