True Friends, Indeed: Friends of RPL marks 45 years

  Friends of RPL  For more than four decades, the Friends of Rodman Public Library have been there.

    Through thick and thin, the organization has provided funding for programming and equipment, supplementing Rodman Public Library.

     It helped establish a branch. It helped launch the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Alliance. And it has provided tons of materials and snacks for all kinds of programs for kids, teens, and snacks.

     It has funded Summer Reading Program materials and prizes, appearance fees for special programs, and popcorn during movie showings. It supports One Book One Community and the Fogle Author Series

It has purchased projectors, computers, and even new curtains for the Main Auditorium.

Yes, the Friends of Rodman Public Library certainly have been true friends, indeed.

“We help out with just about everything the library needs,” said Barb Burley, who has been a member of the Friends for more than 20 years and president for the past seven years. “That is our sole purpose.”

Burley, who likes to say that the Friends of Rodman Library help pay for just about everything but books and electric, is also quick to point out that the organization has been in continuous operation for 45 years since it was first formed in August of 1978.

“A lot of friends organizations start and then fall off, and then start up again, and fall off again,” said Burley. “Ours has been going strong, without interruption, since 1978, and that says a lot.”

Ross Clem served as the first president of the Friends of Rodman Public Library and among some of the charter members listed in the minutes were Shirley Weimer, David Lundgren, and David Puterbaugh – people who still frequent Rodman Library.

When it was formed, some of the goals were to start a cassette collection and a circulating collection of art.

While some of those goals have changed and become outdated, two that have remained steady for those 45 years is to help publicize and stimulate use of the Library's resources and services and satisfy needs of Rodman Library by means of fundraising and volunteer workers.

 Always willing to step up and volunteer to provide assistance at RPL, the Friends hold several fundraisers throughout the year, the biggest being the annual used book sale during the week of Alliance’s Carnation Festival. Although the sale only runs five days, the work of collecting and organizing the books, magazines and media materials is a year-long operation.


And through those various efforts, the Friends of Rodman Library was able to pay out more than $12,000 for several various library programs in 2022 as the book sale, one of the largest in the area, brings in an excess of $10,000 each year.

“The first book sale held in 1978 brought in $300 and the Friends were thrilled to have raised that much,” said Burley. “Look how far we’ve come in 45 years.”

Those wishing to become a member of Rodman Public Library can do so at the circulation desks at either the Main Library or The Branch. Memberships, which cost an annual fee of $5 for individuals 15 years old and older or $25 or more for those wishing to have patron status, are also available at the annual book sale, which will be held Saturday, August 5 through Wednesday, August 9 at the Alliance Commons, located at 405 S. Linden Ave.

The opening day of the sale is always reserved as a members-only day.

Throughout the year, the Friends accept donations of used books to be sold during sales conducted by the group. They also encourage patrons who love the library to make monetary gifts, endowments, and bequests to Rodman Public Library.

“We believe that giving either money or time, whatever you can, to the library is a worthwhile endeavor,” said Burley. “If we didn’t believe that, we wouldn’t be here.”