Friends indeed

Friends of Pat-Med Library celebrates 50 years

Gary Haber
Posted 12/7/23

When the Friends of the Patchogue-Medford Library started in 1973, “Breakfast of Champions” by Kurt Vonnegut and “Burr” by Gore Vidal were among the year’s New York …

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Friends indeed

Friends of Pat-Med Library celebrates 50 years

Posted

When the Friends of the Patchogue-Medford Library started in 1973, “Breakfast of Champions” by Kurt Vonnegut and “Burr” by Gore Vidal were among the year’s New York Times best sellers.

Many of today’s readers may never have heard of those books, but a half-century later, the Friends are still going strong.

Their mission remains the same: to raise money to help support library programs and support literacy in the wider community.

To celebrate their 50th anniversary, the Friends will be holding a party at the library on Dec. 16 and dedicating a reading room at the library in honor of Friends founder Marjorie Roe.

Friends president Claire Siegel called Roe “a human dynamo” and “a fantastic woman.”

The Friends of the Library, which has about 125 members and is run by a 10-person board of directors, holds book sales three times a year and maintains a thrift shelf on the library’s first floor, where people can buy used fiction and nonfiction books.

“They’re supporting literacy in our community,” library director Danielle Paisley said.

The Friends bring in between $6,000 and $9,000 a year, which helps fund a variety of activities at the library and in the community.

Proceeds of book sales helped pay for the library’s first computers, and last year helped pay for prizes for the library’s summer reading program, SAT preparation classes, and a student tutoring program, among other things.

They also raised money for the library’s new Medford branch by selling bricks.

“We never turn down a good request,” said Siegel, a retired teacher from Patchogue, who has been the Friends’ president for the past 20 years.

“It’s been such a wonderful partnership over the years,” Paisley said.

The Friends also help the wider community.

In 2022, they donated books, magazines and assorted media materials to almost 30 nonprofit organizations, including the Northport VA Medical Center, Patchogue-Medford

Schools, Little Free Libraries in Medford and Patchogue, and St. Joseph the Worker food pantry.