Saturday, February 25, 2017

Friends of the Library

FOSL Membership Form

Who We Are                                           

We're anything but FOSSILs. Yet that's an acronym we sometimes whimsically use to refer to the Friends of the Salem Library (FOSL) an organization you'll learn to love. Far from belonging to the past, we have our sights set on helping the Salem Public Library reach it's full potential as a learning center full of vitality, vim and vigor.

The focus is on books and reading. But there's more: Storytelling, videos, newspapers, magazines, nationwide telephone directory service, business directories, investment guides, research sources for school projects and genealogy.  The list goes on and on:

  • A community meeting room.
  • Literacy tutoring space.
  • Art displays.
  • Internet access.
  • Electronic reference to find newspapers and magazine articles on your topic.
  • Computerized access to the catalogs of every public library in Salem, Roanoke City, Botetourt County, and Roanoke County.

Where We've Been

Support groups for public libraries are nothing new or rare, but there must be a spark. Salem Friends trace their roots to a casual conversation in September, 1988, between Joyce M. Foster and Earnestine Woodliff Lewis, former children's librarian of the Salem Public Library. Acting on their ideas, Mrs. Foster became the Friends organizer, mentor and first president. (1988-90).

Over the years, The Salem Friends have enrolled numerous families as members and boosters. More formally , Friends of the Salem library is chartered as a non-stock corporation under Virginia law and holds tax exempt status for Federal taxation purposes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Simply put, that means gifts to the Friends are tax deductible.

Early on, Salem Friends were active in the campaign that resulted in the 1990-91 expansion and renovation of the library on Salem's Library Square.

FOSL Presidents have included Peggy "Jackie" Cook (d.1991); Paul H. Simpkins; Grace J. Thomas; Alice P. Paine and Dee Rose


Where We're Going

Our goal is to intensify public attention on the library, its resources and services; to become personally involved in rallying citizens, support to assure adequate library funding at the municipal and state levels; and to encourage gifts and bequests to the library.

How We Got There

Increasing membership is the one sure way to expand our support base. Membership is open to any citizen, at any of several membership levels.  Please pick up a membership application form at the library or, better yet, attend one of our meetings.

What We're Doing

Book Sale 

Our most visible project is the book sale in September. Friends and library patrons donate hundreds of books, bringing them to the library in the summer months prior to the sale. Members sort, price, display and sell them to the public during Olde Salem Days, usually the second Saturday of September.. Proceeds benefit library activities and needs.

Tax Assistance

Although the program ended in 2005,  volunteers offered help in preparing tax returns at the library since 1985. Through FOSL efforts, computers, printers and software were made available to the volunteers. During tax season, FOSL members served as receptionists and the library provided tax forms, instructions and reference materials. Some taxpayers receiving assistance made voluntary contributions to the Salem Friends.

Direct Funding

The Salem Friends have funded many programs and equipment purchases for the library: Summer Reading, Morning Coffee for Patrons, permanent Christmas tree, a Heritage Quilt, display case, bulletin board, filmstrip projector, television set, plaques, video tape cleaners, Ellison die cutter, computer work stations, film series for high school English classes.


Memorial contributions in any amount are welcomed and acknowledged. If preferred, a contribution may be directed to the Memorial Book Fund, which is used to pay for special books on the library's acquire list; a memorial bookplate is affixed to the book.


How You Can Help

Join the Friends of the Salem Library. Then send a donation to the Friends or, if you wish, include a donation with your dues check. The FOSL Membership Form is also available online. You must have Adobe Acrobat to use this form; it can be downloaded free from Seek the advice of your attorney to make a bequest by your will. Check with you financial advisor about gifts of securities or property to the Friends.

All of these opportunities for support benefit the Salem Public Library and have potential tax-saving advantages. A copy of our IRS determination letter and further information are available on request. For further information, write the FOSL Treasurer.

Mail to: FOSL Treasurer

Salem Public Library

28 E. Main Street

Salem, VA 24153-3897

28 East Main St.  Salem VA 24153  / 540.375.3089

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