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Keene Public Library and Friends Adapt to COVID Challenges

As it has in almost all aspects of life, the pandemic has significantly challenged the Keene Public Library's operations and its all-volunteer non-profit support organization, the Friends of the Keene Public Library (FKPL).

The Friends of Keene Public Library's mission is to support the Library by fundraising to enhance library services, encouraging gifts to the library, and stimulating the use of its resources. Normally the Friends of the Keene Public Library focuses their fundraising on bi-annual book sales. However, due to the pandemic, the Friends have had to cancel three book sales had to be canceled, which has caused a loss of approximately $40,000. The Friends’ support pays for all Library programs, the museum pass loan program, and all summer reading programs, and the popular ‘Reading with Ribby” in cooperation with the Keene Swamp Bats. The Friends also heavily supplement the purchase of equipment needed for Keene Public Library services. 

To replace the missing book sale funds, the Friends of the Library seek contributions from the general public and members of the Friends’ organization on National Library Giving Day, April 7, 2021. They ask people to donate the total amount of money they would have spent over the three canceled book sales or, if possible, to double that amount. Donations can be made any time after April 1 by check to Friends of Keene Public Library, 60 Winter Street, Keene NH 03431; or electronically through a link on the Friends’ Facebook page

Through careful planning, the Friends’ continued financial support has helped the KPL to adjust or expand services in ways that keep the public and staff safe. Because of the Friends,’ the Keene Public Library has been able to turn to virtual programs, create take-home kits for several programs and services and expand digital collections. KPL's additional changes include curbside pickup, an online application for library cards, and remote printing from home computers, phones, or other wifi-enabled devices. 

The Friends of the Keene Public Library is an all-volunteer organization consisting of a Board of Directors and approximately 200 community members. The semi-annual book sale is made possible by donating tens of thousands of used books from the public throughout the year. Dozens of volunteers process the donated books by screening, pricing, sorting into categories, and setting up the book sale itself. The books are affordably priced, most in the $1 - $3 range. The semi-annual sale is a popular community event that attracts hundreds of customers and is a great way to re-purpose used books to willing readers. 

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