We Get By With a Lot of Help From Our Friends


Volunteers strengthen the library ties to our community and make a greater impact than many of us may realize. In addition to helping accomplish numerous tasks and assisting with special projects, library volunteers assist patrons, raise funds, maintain the material collection, and touch lives.

In 2019, volunteers contributed over 25,000 hours of service to our library system. According to Independent Sector, with the Do Good Institute, the 2020 value of a volunteer hour is $27.20 – up 7% from the previous year. Calculations show that volunteers saved St. Johns County taxpayers $680,000! Volunteers bring their own unique expertise to the tasks they perform, which provides SJCPLS with a rich reserve of talent.

Volunteers report experiencing benefits, too. Teen volunteers log service hours against future educational assistance and gain valuable experience in exchange. Adult volunteers often treasure the sense of community and access to great reading materials that the library affords.

Proceeds from the seven Friends of the Library groups’ bookstores and book sales also benefit SJCPLS. Bookstore customers can browse for quality used materials at reasonable prices. Volunteers, who first review items for use in the library collections, sort all of the donated materials. Many volunteers assist with the book sales that are held throughout the year as well as online. The book sales and bookstores raise funds for the library and provide a great way for our community to recycle quality used materials. Last year, our seven Friends of the Library groups raised and expended $174,938 on behalf of SJCPLS.

October 18-24, 2020, SJCPLS will be celebrating our seven Friends of the Library groups as part of the annual National Friends of the Libraries Week. The work of the Friends of the Library promotes the fact that our libraries are a cornerstone of community education, providing opportunities for everyone to engage in the joy of life-long learning and connect with the thoughts and ideas of the world.

We could not do what we do without the continued support of our Friends and Volunteers. This October, we hope you will consider joining the Friends of the Library.

Your library is a thriving community of readers because people like you care enough to invest in the power of literacy. Visit the Friends of the Library page on the Library website at http://www.sjcpls.org/about/friends-of-the-library for more information on these groups.


Debra Rhodes Gibson

Library System Director, St. Johns County Public Library System