Spotlight on: Friends of the Mott Library

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By Bill Reich, President, Friends of the Mott Library in Flint, Mich.

Originally appeared in the July 2010 issue of The Voice for America’s Libraries, a publication of ALTAFF.

The Friends of the Mott Library at Mott Community College (MCC) in Flint, Mich., helps promote library services through active fundraising. A variety of fundraising activities over the years have included book sales, murder mystery dinners, a fashion show, art auctions, silent auctions, and art gallery visits. Each of these fundraising activities returns a percentage of the sales to the Friends.

While these fundraising efforts go a long way to support the library by providing books for special collections and other equipment to support library services to students, the MCC Friends group works hard to maintain an active membership who helps meet budgetary needs. The MCC Friends members as well as the MCC Friends board members work together to make the group successful.

The success of these fundraising efforts allowed the Friends to create an initial endowment of $10,000 in 2006. The Foundation for Mott Community College maintains the Friends endowment fund and helps assure that the Friends will be able to support library initiatives for many years to come. In the current economy, raising funds for the endowment has been a challenge, but the MCC Friends have come up with creative fundraising strategies.

Over the years, some of the projects aided by the Friends include Genesee County’s One Book-One Community reading activity, the State of Michigan’s Center for the Book, photography contests, and Literacy Day activities.

The Friends supports library efforts that would otherwise be impossible, such as the purchase of books to honor employees of the college who are retiring. This is one of the first projects that the Friends undertook, and the group continues to fund it to this day. Retirees are asked to select a book that the Friends will purchase in the retiree’s name and add to the library collection. This benefits MCC students by increasing the library collection with book that retirees consider interesting or worth reading.

The Friends group continues to support the Peggy Brown “Can Do” Collection. Originally the collection of materials was created to inspire and motivate all the members of the secretarial/clerical unit. The collection honors Peggy Brown, a retired secretarial/clerical unit member who represented the positive “can do” spirit through her service to MCC.

In recent years, the topics of the Peggy Brown “Can Do” Collection have become increasingly universal, and it is now aimed at a broad range of employees and students to make use of materials on a variety of motivational topics, life skills, and personal enrichment.

In 2003, the Friends were able to fund a $30,000 library entrance renovation to replace a failing detection system and allow for easier wheelchair access. The Friends have been instrumental in providing many items for the library to help support student learning and to promote the Mott Library to the MCC campus as well as to the surrounding community.

However, one of the best things about the Friends is the wonderful public relations efforts they make on behalf of the library to the campus and the community.

Learn more about the Friends of the Mott Library.

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