The conclusion was that while motivations differ, in general the Friends join “to support the UNCG libraries, have access to resources, and enjoy a like-minded community through a variety of events.”Let’s examine that a bit closer.
It’s no secret that state funding can only go so far to create a great library, and the Friends help to give the University Libraries the extra edge, providing funds for programs and author visits, identifying special collections that might be acquired, undertaking projects like the recent landscape renovation in front of Jackson Library to make it a beautiful and sustainable entrance for many of the 1 million plus visitors to Jackson Library each year. Many join the Friends each year simply to support the continued excellence of the libraries that serves their needs and those of their students and colleagues.Many think of libraries in terms of collection resources, and while ours are significant, access to resources also includes being able to draw on the expertise of the library faculty and staff to make better and more efficient use of the collections and the myriad tools that might be available to address your research question, whether it be in the field of molecular biology or local history. Libraries like ours are one of the few places where there really is something for everyone. Just as our first year students sometimes struggle to find the right tool among roughly 400 databases, more than a million books and documents, and thousands of manuscript materials in the University Libraries alone, so can Friends enlist the aid of on library professionals who know the resources and where you might search most efficiently. Friends get to know those resources well. Of course, just being able to borrow books, DVDs and other materials from the Libraries’ rich collections is a nice benefit in itself for many members, too.
Another benefit of the Friends is the satisfaction of joining with like-minded people, including neighbors, colleagues, alumni, and others who enjoy being part of the Friends -- enjoying faculty-led book discussions, author visits like those of James McPherson and Jill McCorkle this fall, special lectures, and celebrations such as those recently focusing on Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. One Friends Board member has said, “Let it be known that the Friends of the UNCG Libraries know how to throw a good party.” Indeed, many enjoy just getting together each spring for the Friends Dinner, which on March 6, 2014 will feature poet and national treasure Nikki Giovanni. It’s a party that’s been celebrated annually since 1959.