LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Friends of the Livingston Library has officially launched its 2015-2016-membership drive and membership invitations have been mailed to every household in Livingston. The Livingston Library will mark its 100th anniversary in 2016.

In addition to marking the beginning of its second century of operation, 2016 will see the Library launch its new three-year strategic plan. The Library welcomes some 270,000 visitors to the premises and hosts another 115,000 sessions on its website annually. Visitors attend programs, borrow and download books, magazines, music, databases, etc., use computers, conduct research, seek staff assistance, and otherwise socialize. Services are available free to the public—seven days a week all year round.

“While the Township’s funding covers most of the Library’s operating costs such as salaries and facilities, many of the programs and services which we take for granted are not funded by the Township,” said Friends Board Treasurer Teresa Allard. For 55 of the Library’s last 100 years, Friends of the Livingston Library has helped fill the financial gap, expanded programming and services, supported new initiatives, and organized and mobilized volunteers.” 

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Over the years, Friends has developed multiple sources of revenue ranging from books sales to special events to raffles, but, the membership drive remains the most important source of funds, accounting for about 50% of total funds raised annually by Friends.

“We are very excited about this year’s drive because we have also expanded our benefits package for members,” said Allard. “Among the new benefits is an expansion of the Merchants & Members Program which offers discounts for card-carrying members of Friends.”

According to Allard, more than a dozen businesses are participating in the program. Friends will also be hosting events exclusively for members of Friends. Patrons can become Friends by contributing at one of the many giving levels available. Allard said each one of these giving levels carries with it a unique set of membership benefits. Patrons can join throughout the year and their membership is valid for one full year from the time of joining. Memberships can also be given as a gift.  The donor will be acknowledged and the recipient will be notified. 

“A Friends Gift membership is a generous way to shop for those who are hard to find that unique present for a special person in your life,” said Allard.

Besides the town-wide mailing, Friends memberships may be obtained using forms available at the Library and online or by phone using a credit card.  For more information, Friends can be contacted at friends_livlibrary@verizon.net or 973-992-4600 X505.  The website is http://livingston.bccls.org/.

Friends is an all-volunteer not-for profit organization whose mission is to support and promote the Livingston Library. Programs and services funded by Friends includes youth programming such as the Summer Reading Program, Yoga for Kids, author events, and the language learning database for young children, Little Pim. Friends supports family friendly activities like the Museum Pass Program which offers free passes to eight area museums, series for all ages including Music Matters, Think Theater, Literary Liaisons, and lifelong learning lectures, the E-Reader program, and Senior Happenings. Friends is responsible for the purchase hundreds of library books as well as the monthly subscription to Book Page. Friends has provided funding to the Library’s ESL Program (English as a Second Language) and was one of the largest donors to the Library’s Capital Campaign, endowing the Children’s Room.

Details of the participating entities in the M&M Program, are: 18/8 Fine Men’s Salon,  ACL Art Gallery, Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, Chocolate Works, Dunkin Donuts (Route 10), Eye Level Learning Center, Grooves Unlimited, Ike’s Bagel Cafe, Jay’s Shoe Box, Morris Tutoring, Philly Pretzel Factory, Skybox Collectibles, and West Essex YMCA.