A little help from friends | Langley Library group funds renovation, poet laureate visit

The entrance to the Langley Library was changed with the purchase of bookshelves on rollers, which allows for a modifiable display front.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
The entrance to the Langley Library was changed with the purchase of bookshelves on rollers, which allows for a modifiable display front.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

Walk into the Langley Library, and the work of their friends is everywhere.

At the entrance, the library supporters Friends of the Langley Library funded the new book shelves on rollers. Their used book shelf was moved against the north wall. Even the carpet was partially paid for by the group. And there’s the color strip curtain hanging from the front doors that is a sample fundraising item.

“It just freshened it up,” said Marty Kortebein, president of the Friends of the Langley Library.

For years, the friends group has funded — partially and fully — some 20 programs annually. Summer reading programs, designed to encourage students to explore literature outside of school, use prizes from the library organization as rewards. Guest speakers like Nancy Pearl, a renowned former librarian and literature advocate, are also brought to Langley by the group.

All of their work is done with the charge to support the library and its needs. One of the great needs of any library is to attract users and promote literacy.

“People continue to find libraries a really important part of their lives,” Kortebein said.

Next week, the Friends cap off their operating year with a visit from Elizabeth Austen, the Washington State Poet Laureate. She will speak in Fellowship Hall at the Langley United Methodist Church at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 28. 

Austen’s stop in Langley is one that the organizer said should not be missed because of the poet’s theatrical training and command of orating her writing.

“She reads them wonderfully well,” Kortebein said of Austen. “She’s enthusiastic.”

The group, which operates with an annual budget of about $20,000 from membership dues, used book sales, fundraising and donations, will see a sea change in the coming months. All but one of its board members will be replaced, including Kortebein, who will become a regular member of the friends group. Kortebein said there are about 80 members in the Friends of the Langley Library.


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