Letter from the Library Director:

Our Friends Make All the Difference @the Library

Welcome to fall and a “new year” for SJCPLS! It’s not the kind where you stay up until midnight and hope you can keep all your great resolutions. October is the beginning of our new fiscal year. SJCPLS has several public service enhancements planned for FY2024, including the restoration of Sunday afternoon hours at our four larger libraries and Monday hours at our two smaller libraries, additional copies of new and popular materials, a replacement bookmobile, and the migration to a new circulation system and online catalog of resources.

While St. Johns County provides the majority of SJCPLS’ funding, we could not do all that we do without the continued support of our seven Friends of the Library organizations. The work of the Friends of the Library highlights that our libraries are the cornerstones of the community, providing opportunities for everyone to engage in the joy of learning and connect with the thoughts and ideas of others from the past to the present. 

Our Friends are the foundation of community support for the St. Johns County Public Library System. They understand the critical importance of well-funded libraries and advocate to ensure that our libraries get the resources needed to provide a wide variety of services to all ages, including access to print and electronic materials, expert assistance in research, readers’ advisory, and children’s services.

The Friends provide outstanding fundraising assistance to enhance our libraries and bookmobiles. In 2022, the Friends donated over $162,000 to enhance the library’s budget. These funds are used for many items that the County does not provide. For example, did you realize the Friends fund all program costs, from purchasing movies for our film series, author visits, musical events, youth and children’s demonstrations, and craft supplies? In addition, the Friends make a difference in our library collections, funding the purchase of books, CDs, DVDs, and databases. 

In 2022, library volunteers contributed almost 17,000 hours of service to SJCPLS. In its newest “Value of Volunteer Time” report, Independent Sector, with the Do Good Institute, announced on April 19, 2023, that the latest volunteer hour value is estimated to be $31.80, a 6.2% increase from 2021 to 2022. Calculations show that library volunteers saved St. Johns County taxpayers $540,028! Volunteers bring unique expertise to their tasks, which provides SJCPLS with a rich reserve of talent. The gift of their time and commitment to our libraries sets an example of how volunteerism leads to positive civic engagement and the betterment of our community. 

The Friends are always looking for new members and volunteers. Visit the Friends of the Library page on our website for more information on these groups, and make a few new friends of your own!

Debra Rhodes Gibson

Library System Director, St. Johns County Public Library System

St. Johns County Public Library System