Read all about it: Friends of Porter Public Library celebrates 50 years of service – cleveland.com

Westlake's Porter Public Library inspires many “friends” to support the library — with more than $1 million raised in its first 50 years. (Photo Courtesy of Friends of Porter Public Library)
WESTLAKE, Ohio — The Friends of Porter Public Library is celebrating its 50th anniversary and the many contributions the group has made to the library. The group is well-known for its annual book sales.
The group is working this year on programs and activities to celebrate the milestone.
The Friends group was formed on Oct. 18, 1972, with 66 original members. Today, there are more than 200 members. As the group itself has grown, so has its generosity of spirit in supporting the library.
In the first year, the Friends’ first book sale showed a profit of $975. To date, the group has contributed more than $1 million to the library. All of the funds go directly to the library to support needs not covered by the library’s budget.
The first officers of the organization were Ruth Lesko, president; Wilson Caldwell, vice president; Kenneth Crandall, treasurer; and Myrna Chelko, secretary.
In addition to the yearly book sale, the Friends group also has taken charge of the Book Nook — the used book room, Portables Gift Shop in the lobby, membership dues and special fundraising events.
All activities are conceived of and conducted by a team of very dedicated volunteers.
The Friends of Porter Public Library in Westlake is celebrating 50 years of service.
Jennifer Cirincione, Friends vice president and head of the 50th anniversary committee, has been with the group for more than 20 years.
“The first donation was a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica,” she said. “Since then, we have helped with library levy campaigns, funded our minivans for outreach programs, the annual summer reading program, the ice cream social, computers, programming the library wanted — for example, speakers for programs.”
Cirincione said the way to think of the Friends group is “we are the icing on the cake. We provide things that might not fall in the library’s regular operating budget.”
She said the group is working with Modern Video Productions on a documentary to commemorate the 50th anniversary. The video is scheduled to be released sometime during the summer.
“Look for upcoming mini celebrations this year,” said Cirincione. “In May, the Porter Library Hilliard Road Flower Box will be planted; this is something Friends takes care of annually.
“Due to the pandemic, there will be no annual ice cream social in July (as of now), but the Friends will have a table on the library grounds during the July 30 Rotary Art Festival. There will also be a Friends historical display in the library lobby display box throughout August.”
She also teased a special surprise: “Keep an eye out for something special to be donated to both the library and to the community by the end of 2022.
“The Friends group is comprised of area residents who are passionate about the Westlake Porter Public Library and who have donated both money and thousands of volunteer hours over the years to a common cause: to support the library,” she said.
“Every dollar that Friends raises goes back to the library; over 50 years, that has been over $1 million.
“But there is more to Friends than volunteerism and money, however. The Friends group has helped the library transition to a new building, helped pass crucial levies and provided Books for Babies, the annual Summer Reading Program, the Homework Help Center, the West Fest Author Festival, Sunday Sounds and a piano for public use in the Porter Room.
“Not only have members been involved themselves, but they have brought their families, children and grandchildren into the Friends membership,” she said.
“The community of Westlake has benefited for 50 years from having a strong, independent library presence that started with the foresight and perseverance of a small group of dedicated Friends. The value to both the library and to the community, therefore, is immeasurable in terms of time, talent and treasure that Friends has given.”
To join the Friends group, membership brochures and forms are available at the library or can be printed out at the library’s website: www.westlakelibrary.org.
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