2017-10-26 / Around Town

A Lifetime of Passion for Libraries

Conversation with Adrienne Haylor
By Lynne Tungett


In the words of Joseph Logue, director of the Newport Library, "The Friends of the Newport Public Library show their love for this institution daily. On Sept. 21, however, at the Board of Trustees’ Annual Meeting, I witnessed another instance of the Friends’ generosity when Adrienne Haylor, Friends President, presented the library with its annual gift of $25,000. We accept your gift with our humble gratitude and our deep respect for the work you do.” In the words of Joseph Logue, director of the Newport Library, "The Friends of the Newport Public Library show their love for this institution daily. On Sept. 21, however, at the Board of Trustees’ Annual Meeting, I witnessed another instance of the Friends’ generosity when Adrienne Haylor, Friends President, presented the library with its annual gift of $25,000. We accept your gift with our humble gratitude and our deep respect for the work you do.” As a child growing up on the Point, Adrienne Haylor made weekly visits to the library on Saturdays with her family. At that time, the library was still located at the Edward King House.

Since those early days, Haylor went on to become an employee of the John D. Rockefeller Library at Brown University, in Providence, and the Murray State University Library, in Kentucky. Later, in California, she served on the board of trustees for seven years at the Willows Public Library in Glenn County, and managed the Stonyford Branch Library of Colusa County.

After retiring from a career in education in 2015, Haylor returned to her old neighborhood, where she had attended Callender School from kindergarten through fifth grade. (She even recalls her first teachers: Ms. Gillespie for kindergarten and Ms. Eagan for first and second grades). Now, she serves as the president of the Friends of the Newport Public Library.

What do you remember from your early library visits? At the Edward King House, the children’s room was straight up the stairs on the second floor. The room was filled with books and had window seats. You had to be very quiet in the library in those days.

How did your interests in libraries grow? My passion for libraries started with the library club at Rogers High School.

What do you like most about libraries? I enjoy reading the printed page and just holding a book, magazine or newspaper.

What are some of the best things the Newport Public Library offers? The Maker Labs, also referred to as makerspaces, hackerspaces, hackspaces and fablabs. It is a creative DIY [do it yourself], space where people gather to create, invent and learn.

How is Newport Public Library unique? The collection of articles, books and reference materials in the Newport Room.

Are you reading anything now? Yes! "Bull Run" by Robert B. Parker (fiction) and "Cattle Kingdom," by Christopher Knowlton (nonfiction), both library books.

Tell us more about how the Friends originated. According to items in a scrapbook housed in the Newport Room, a "short history” was compiled. The Friends group organized in June 1966. Their first fundraiser was a cocktail party at the Breakers Stable, for purchase of a bookmobile, which was presented to the library in 1967. And, a fundraiser in 1968 raised $580 for the purchase of a new mimeograph machine.

The group continued to raise funds throughout the years with a band concert in Eisenhower Park (1973) and cocktail parties in the Old Colony House and Belcourt Castle into the 1980s. And, there were December Book Sales in the King Room, until the Friends official bookstore opened in 1991 in its present location.

What is the Friends group like now? We have 91 members, and all our proceeds go directly to the library. The organization is completely staffed by volunteers. At present we have about 30 volunteers including bookstore and regular backroom volunteers. The bookstore volunteers are all very friendly. Tell us some of what they do. Shifts in our bookstore are about two hours, and besides assisting patrons, they stock and shelve books and help with donation processing of receiving, cleaning, and pricing books and other items.

Volunteers also help with the Friends eBay site by researching, pricing and posting the more valuable and/or rare books for sale.

The bookstore is open 32 hours, Monday through Saturday. How does the lobby book offerings work? Lobby books are 50 cents and patrons place money in an "Honor Box" during regular library hours when the bookstore is not open.

How can people contribute? We can only accept donations of "gently used books," DVDs, CDs and magazines. If you have large quantities of donations, please bring them to the loading dock on the south side of the library off Spring Street and ring the bell. Smaller donations can be accepted at the bookstore. The next big fundraiser for the Friends is its Holiday Book Sale Dec. 8-13.

Give us examples of how the library uses Friends' gifts. We’ve paid for performers for the children's summer reading programs, bought bestsellers and helped with renovations to the Newport Room.

In case you’re wondering, there is still a photocopy machine for library patrons, over by the circulation desk, that prints black-and-white single-sided copies. Unfortunately, the bookmobile has been retired.

If you’ve enjoyed this quick read on the Friend's of the Newport Public Library, consider a membership or joining their small cadre of volunteers. Applications for volunteers can be picked up in the bookstore, at the reference desk or electronically by contacting friendsnpl8@gmail.com.

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