Deschutes Public Library stepping away from ‘Friends’ groups; foundation to take over fundraising efforts

The Deschutes Public Library System announced Tuesday it was stepping away from its “Friends of the Library” volunteer organizations and will take over full fundraising efforts moving forward.

“The Friends have played an important role in the library’s development,” said Deschutes Public Library Board President Ann Malkin. “They helped library management and staff, the Library Advisory Councils—and the Foundation—pass the bond levies for the construction of libraries throughout the county and raised funds to help furnish new facilities. We are tremendously grateful for their support and dedication.”

Deschutes Public Library is working with the Friends organizations—five in all—to transition to a single and more sustainable fundraising effort that focuses on the needs of the library district as a whole, according to a release from the library.

That single organization is the Deschutes Public Library Foundation, which formed in 1993 with a mission to provide dependable and sustainable funding that supports and enhances library programs and outreach services that are not funded through tax dollars.

Library Director Todd Dunkelberg said the Bend, La Pine, Sunriver and Sisters Friends groups have decided to legally dissolve their organizations. The Redmond group has not yet had a meeting with its membership to plan its future.

The move comes on the heels of the library’s announcement last month that it bought 13 acres of land in north Bend for a new central library and a massive fundraising effort would soon follow.

The plan calls for a 95,000 to 115,000-square-foot facility, which would be significantly larger than the 34,000-square-feet flagship library in Downtown Bend.

Renovations or expansions are planned for all of the district’s libraries as well.

It’s unclear what the projects will cost, but library officials have said they will look for donations and expect to go to voters for a bond measure as early as this November.

Spaces in Deschutes Public Library’s six public locations that had been used by the Friends groups for book sales and storage are being converted to areas accessible to the public.

For example, the space occupied by the Friends group in the Downtown Bend Library is available to the public as a meeting room space. In Redmond, the former Friends space will now provide a larger area for children’s books and services, as well as a dedicated early learning space.

“We truly appreciate the Friends groups’ support and efforts over the years,” Dunkelberg said.  “Their hard work and commitment to the Deschutes Public Library has had a lasting impact in enriching the lives of Deschutes County residents. We are forever grateful for their dedication.”

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