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!” said Friends President Jacqueline Wallace. “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.
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.”
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 have teamed up again with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis and Rotary International District 6800 to celebrate World Polio Day October 24 – Building 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”!
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.
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.