By CHERIL VERNON
The Palestine Library Friends will celebrate the organization’s accomplishments, present two special awards and share a meal by local chef Simon Webster at its annual Library Friends Banquet on Thursday, Feb. 28. The organization also is hoping to generate interest in those who may want to learn more about the group or become a member.
The banquet will be held at 6 p.m. at Harvey Woman’s Club.
“We’re all very excited about the upcoming annual members’ dinner. All of our long-lasting and new Library Friends members will be coming together to enjoy a fabulous Mexican fajita buffet prepared by Simon Webster of Sabor a Pasión,” Palestine Library Friends board member Ruth Davis said. “It will be a special night of honoring 2012 accomplishments, which includes the “Friend of the Year” and “Library Employee of the Year,” while looking to a bright future in 2013.”
Over the years, the Library Friends have provided a variety of equipment, educational programs, art exhibits and funded summer reading programs at the library, Davis said.
“Twenty-four years ago a dedicated group of individuals led by Gay Bryant and Jackson Hanks set out to create an organization to help fulfill needs of Palestine Public Library by forming the ‘Friends,’” Davis said.
Other original 1999 board members who still live in the area include: Sandy Hanson, June McCoy, Kathi Huffman, Clarissa Delaney and Barbara Gates.
“We couldn’t get along without all our Library Friends. With tightened state and local funding, their passionate volunteerism and gracious financial support have provided many services we’ve all come to love,” Palestine Public Library Director Theresa Holden said. “People should know the Library Friends’ have been there to help in our times of need with transitioning to our location in the mall, providing necessary wall shelves, purchasing computers for the Teen Center and ensuring our safety by installing a security system. They are truly a hallmark of our wonderful library.”
Each year, a Friend of the Year award is given to a Palestine Library Friends member who has volunteered over the past year to ensure the library vibrantly thrives. This can be anyone with a vision, passion and commitment to the library.
A Library Employee of the Year award also is given.
“The ‘Library Employee of the Year’ is someone who is more than a great employee. We love everyone on our team. They’re a person we all admire for their enthusiastic commitment to professionalism that is equally matched with compassion and integrity,” Holden said.
Webster said he is excited about catering the Palestine Library Friends event.
“It’s fantastic to bring the Palestine Library Friends’ closer together with a Mexican fajita buffet full of flavors sure to surprise and satisfy. I’m preparing festively grilled beef and chicken with a selection of fire roasted vegetables complimented by my signature garden fresh, hot homemade salsa,” Webster said. “For dessert, a real treat, New Zealand Pavlova. This consists of a meringue base that is filled with whipped cream and topped with a selection of market fresh fruit. I am always committed to using as many locally grown and freshest farm-to-table ingredients as possible.”
The Palestine Library Friends’ 2012 accomplishments include: winter, spring and fall book sales; discount cart book sales in the library; purchase of Teen Center computers; decorating the library angel tree; opening up bids for new library shelf ends; first-time funding for the library volunteer program; purchase and installation of library security system; and organizing the annual members’ dinner.
“We hold fundraisers in the form of plays, murder mysteries and book sales. Thanks to the generosity of the city, our book sale now has a home in the Palestine Mall where books can be stored and easily displayed,” Davis said.
Current Palestine Library Friends’ board members include: Heywood Harris, president; Jill Ralph, treasurer; Mike Thomason, Carson Wages, Paula Ellis, Marilyn Sheridan, Joyce Anderson, Carroll Boyd and Ruth Davis.
Cost for the dinner is $15 per person. RSVP by Friday to Davis at 903-723-8261 or Ralph at 903-948-9884.
“We look forward to seeing everyone at the ‘Friends’ dinner and spring book sale,” Davis said.
The organization is actively looking for persons interested in joining the organization or volunteering their time. Annual membership is $10 for individuals, $15 for families, $25 for sponsors, $50 for patrons, $100 for sustaining and $250 for corporate. Palestine Library Friends is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Contributions and dues may be tax deductible.
“We would love to have new members join us for the annual members’ dinner. It will be the perfect place to make new friends,” a Friends news release said.
Follow the Palestine Library Friends Inc. on Facebook for information on upcoming events.