Thankful for Friends

The Friends of the Library at Prince William Public Library System

November is the month of Thanksgiving. It’s a time to give thanks for everything you have in your life and everyone who offers you their help and support. The Prince William Public Library System (PWPLS) does not need to wait for November to roll around to reflect on the people who selflessly offer their help and support to its eleven libraries. PWPLS has hundreds of volunteers, teens through adult, who check in materials and shelve books daily. Other community members offer their time and expertise teaching a class or offering a program. There are also those who give generous monetary donations, donate new items for the library collection from the Library’s wish list on Amazon, or who purchase commemorative bricks.

One of the libraries biggest supporters is a group perfectly named, The Friends of the Library. They are a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the libraries and the programs they offer. PWPLS has six Friends groups made up of volunteers from the local community who work very hard so the libraries can offer free programs to the public. The Friends groups are: The Friends of Bull Run Regional Library, Friends of Chinn Park Library, Friends of Central Library, Friends of Gainesville Library, Friends of Montclair Library, and Friends of Potomac Library. Each group raises money through ongoing used book sales, membership dues, and other fundraising efforts. Without their hard work and funding, most of the library programs the PWPLS offers wouldn’t exist. Our libraries wouldn’t be able to offer summer reading programs, or year-round kids programs, such as: weekly story-times, teen and tween programs, and adult programs, some of which include highly sought-after guest speakers! Funding also pays for supplies and/or refreshments needed for each program and, in some libraries, furniture and equipment.

At Haymarket Gainesville Library, the Friends group began in 2011 when the only library in Haymarket was the Gainesville Neighborhood Library, located in James S. Long Regional Park. The group was built from scratch with a lot of hard work. When the new Haymarket Gainesville Community Library opened in 2015, the Friends were there helping make the grand opening a success. Without their support, it would have taken some time after the Library opened to be able to start offering story times. Since then, the Library has continued to offer a variety of fun and interesting programs, which have been funded by the Friends. This year’s Summer Reading Program was a huge success because of the hard work and dedication of the Friends. They were responsible for the Library being able to offer popular programs like Bar C Ranch: Backyard Zoo, Hampstead Stage Theatre: Treasure Island, Dinoman, Bollywood Dance with Rhythmayer, Toni’s Lazer Tag, and Bob Brown’s Puppets.

How can you help? Become a member of the Friends of Gainesville Library (or any of the other five Friends groups throughout the county)! When you join, your membership dues go directly to Haymarket Gainesville Community Library. They also need volunteers to sort and prepare books for sale and to help run the book sales. They also accept used book donations to be sold in upcoming sales, however, they do not accept manuals, computer books, magazines, encyclopedias, VHS tapes, cassettes, foreign language books, moldy, or insect-infested books. Tax receipts are available at the circulation desk for donations.

You can also help when you shop at one of the book sales. The money you spend goes directly to the Library. Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving!

The next book sale at Haymarket Gainesville Community Library is scheduled for Saturday, December 8, 2018, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The sale will also include local crafters, just in time for Christmas shopping. Email the Friends of Gainesville Library at to become a member or with any questions. To learn more about Ways to Give to the PWPLS visit

About the Author: Melinda Casilli is a Library Services Technician at the Haymarket Gainesville Community Library.  She received her Bachelor of Arts from Point Park University. Melinda is an avid reader and loves to cook. She lives in Gainesville with her husband and three girls.

Prince William Public Library Staff
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For more information on the Prince William County Public Library, please visit their website or call 703-792-6000.

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