Chicago Ridge Library Friends start new chapter of service
BY STEVE METSCH email@example.com March 27, 2013 8:30PM
Angelique Clark, 9, uses the children’s computer at the Chicago Ridge Public Library. The computer was purchased with funds rasied by the Friends of the Library. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 29, 2013 6:01AM
Asked why she got involved with the Friends of the Chicago Ridge Public Library, Mary Powers asks her own question.
“Why not? It’s not that hard. It’s very encouraging for people to come and use the facilities. We want people to see we’re not all stiff collars. We want to entertain them more. We’re human and we want to have a little fun,” she said.
Powers, 71, is president of the group that’s experiencing a rebirth of sorts.
With her and several other dedicated volunteers leading the way, the Friends have been busy holding a wide range of events designed to raise awareness about the library, 10400 S. Oxford Ave., not to mention some extra money along the way with a variety of fundraisers.
Library director Kathy McSwain is grateful to Powers and other volunteers in the group for “revitalizing the Friends.”
“They’re really ambitious and gung-ho. They’re always thinking up new programs,” she said.
The Friends’ former president stepped down last year, and Powers, a crossing guard in town, decided to pitch in.
She’s assisted by Sylvia Hayes, Lu Thorpe, Jennifer Wilson and Pat Schiller.
Powers is grateful for help from McSwain, too, saying “she keeps us together.”
“We’re new at this and we kind of depend on Kathy to give us her input,” Powers said.
Other fundraisers involved selling chocolate bars for $1 each in January and February, a night at Culver’s in Bridgeview when a portion of the proceeds went to the library, and a Halloween party complete with a storyteller in October.
Since last June, the group’s goal was to raise $6,000. A total of $4,200 had been raised by mid-month, and a good portion of that was used to buy a touch-screen computer learning station for preschool children.
Next is raising enough for another computer for older children.
“Things are falling into place,” McSwain said.