Friends make the difference at the Bettendorf Public Library

The Bettendorf Public Library is one of the most highly ranked in the country for member satisfaction. For libraries of its size in the United States, it is one of the most favorably rated and reviewed. Why is that? What is going on there? What is so special about the Bettendorf Public Library? After all, it’s not one of those new fancy all-digital public libraries. Well, the answer lies in something simpler.

There are a lot of factors that help to shape it into the library it is today. One crucial element is the support organizations that are a part of it, and one of those groups is Friends of the Bettendorf Public Library.

This is a volunteer group that has operated on a continual basis since the 1970s. What has this organization done? What has its purpose been? The mission of this organization was to offer funding for programming and materials requested by the library. The Friends work together with the library to provide the materials and funding that they need to make their library a better place for visitors. The organization now annually provides an average of about $30,000 in funding. Many different programs run by the Friends of the Bettendorf Public Library make the money.

There was a magazine resale program begun in the autumn of 1983. Volunteers would sort through the donated magazines, and then they would resell them at Dewey’s Café. Magazines were just ten cents each, and sales averaged approximately $550 per month. The 2013 income reached almost $7,000. This is a program that offers a nice source of income for the Friends, and it is an excellent recycling effort inside of the community, keeping many thousands of magazines out of the landfill. A lot of customers say that they purchase the magazines, look through them, and then donate them once again, so that some magazines are not put into the landfill for a long time.

The Friends also give copiers for public use inside of the library. Color copiers have been there since 2005. With a lot of people owning computers, copier use has gone down over the last ten years. Previously, they offered a very decent source of income for the Friends. At their height in the 1990s, the copiers made almost $15,000 per year in profit. Copiers are now neutral-profit services that the Friends still offer to patrons who need them. The library is grateful that the Friends have continued to offer this valuable service.

The Friends are probably most well known for their book sales, though. The initial sale at the present location was in 1976, generating a profit of $921. The current sales go into the thousands. One of the most high-income sales was in the spring of 2013, which got about $8,500 in profit. The Friends are extremely proud of these sales. Most of the items are still offered for the low price of about 50 cents a piece. The Friends want to keep on trying to break their record.