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Help the Friends help children in Lincoln

Friends of the Lincoln Library column
By: Lora Finnegan Special to The News Messenger
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“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Children are one of the big reasons Friends of the Lincoln Library exists. We fund lots of learning enrichment programs for kids, such as Mother Goose on the Loose, Summer Reading and Read for the Record. Assisting Lincoln children is why the Friends pay for the Homework Help software (to augment the library’s free tutoring in the Homework Help Center). And all these enrichment programs must be making a difference: children are among the most numerous users of the library. Library coordinator Renae Mahaffey tells us that, at this year’s Summer Reading program, 1,200 kids participated and won 3,792 prizes, including hundreds of books donated by Friends of the Lincoln Library. Lincoln’s economy is recovering, slowly but not enough yet to help the city improve library funding. And Lincoln’s underfunded library is not unique. The American Library Association (ALA) reports that about 60 percent of U.S. libraries have flat or decreased budgets — and that’s on the heels of three years of funding deficits in many areas. That’s where the work of the Friends comes in. The Friends recently funded the return of a program the city used to sponsor: Free Family Movie Night (third Saturday of the month - check schedule online). And it’s a hit. Sure, most folks have DVD players at home but there’s something way more entertaining about seeing a movie on a huge screen with lots of people around. We saw that proven by the animated kids at our recent showing of the just-released movie, “The Lorax.” If the amount of popcorn left on the floor was any proof, they had a ball! And there’s more for kids at the Lincoln Library: Family Storytime is a fun half-hour of stories and songs. For youngsters who are reluctant readers, the Reading to Rover program brings certified therapy dogs Teddy and Mai Tai in to help (studies have shown that some kids find success reading to an animal). For dates and times of these and other programs, see libraryatlincoln.org for details. As I see it, the importance of libraries goes beyond serving up free books. A library can boost literacy in the whole community and be a center of town life. If you are not a regular library patron, you’re missing out on classes, seminars, free art exhibits, movies and more. Friends of the Lincoln Library hopes we can continue to help kids and we think these programs are part of the whole picture. But we can’t do it without the community behind us. How you can help: the envelope, please Friends of the Lincoln Library launches its annual fundraiser appeal on Oct. 4. Look for our donations envelope tucked into the Oct. 4 issue of this newspaper’s Inside Lincoln section. Every dollar we raise (after modest printing/postage expenses) will go toward buying new books for the library, purchasing the latest DVDs and CDs for your families to check out, paying for the popular Summer Reading Program and more. Plus it will help us continue the beloved Mother Goose on the Loose learning program for tots. So look for the envelope on Oct. 4 and please help (or donate anytime via Paypal on our website friendsofthelincolncalibrary.org). Donations large and small will go a long way to making a difference for all of Lincoln — but especially for the kids. Ten reasons to love the Lincoln Library: reasons 8 and 7 In case you wonder why the Friends of the Lincoln Library is so crazy about our Twelve Bridges library, we’re continuing our series of our Top 10 reasons through Oct. 4 (last week, we listed reasons 10 and 9). 8. Librarians rock. Sometimes, it seems as if librarians are all-knowing and all-seeing. Seriously, they can really bring order to chaos (including your child’s homework assignment). 7. Free stuff. We can’t say it enough: library materials are free. Check out DVDs, CDs, eBooks and more. This column is part of a Friends of the Lincoln Library series. Have a question? Contact the Friends at 434-2404, at friendsofthelincolncalibrary.org or e-mail FOLL@live.com. Lora Finnegan is a Friends of the Lincoln Library member.