The Friends of the Stirling Road Branch Library are deeply devoted to the library, acknowledging it to be the center of the community which it serves. The Friends Group began when the Stirling Road Branch library opened in 2003 and has since embraced its mission to raise funds for the well-being of the branch, to advocate for libraries and staff and to sponsor programs which enhance our community. Although Stirling Road is considered a small branch, our Friends number over 430, mostly due to focused efforts to raise awareness of the work that we do. In 2015, the Friends Group was awarded the prestigious Ellen Brunner Membership Development Award by the Florida Library Association and in 2014, the Friends Group received the Website Award for the best Friends’ website in Florida, awarded by the Florida Library Association.
Our facility projects have included the refurbishing of the library’s chairs, a reading rug for the children’s department, bulletin boards and adorable book baskets with the logo of our group. We have also purchased lovely display cases. Thanks to the generosity of Baby Ktan, our library has an iPad Nook dedicated to children.
The Friends raises funds for the branch through its memberships, daily on-going book room and its special Book Fairs and Bake Sales. Our book room is open during all library hours and has grown in popularity especially since the closing of all bookstore chains in the City of Hollywood. We have over 150 members of The Stirling Circle, a group whose members contribute $50 or more annually to support the library. Our group also offers its books on the web and is a registered nonprofit with a website presence on PayPal’s Giving Fund: http://givingworks.ebay.com/charity-auctions/charity/friends-of-the-stirling-road-branch-library/75308/. Another focus of our fundraising is the successful Dedicate-A- Shelf project, which since its inception in 2010 has raised thousands of dollars.
Sponsoring programs with other nonprofit organizations has led to successful community building. The Group sponsors on-going lecture series with The Music Club of Hollywood and partners with the Posnack Jewish Community Center in bringing noted author and journalist, Ari Goldman, noted author Gary Shytengart, and Philosopher Susan Nieman to our branch, among others. Our members benefit through our partnership with Cinema Paradiso-Hollywood. Each month, our Movie Club meets at this wonderful theater and views a feature film together followed by a discussion. Our members also receive a discount at Cinema-Paradiso. In the Fall of 2019, we began a partnership with Broward College- Bailey Hall. Our members have benefitted from a special ticket initiative to a series of classical music concerts with over 100 of our members attending a concert at a time. We have also partnered with The Art and Cultural Center of Hollywood and the Hollywood Historical Society in bringing quality programs to our library. We are very proud of our relationship with local schools. We partnered with Attucks Middle School to create a Career Day and have worked with Hollywood Hills High School in offering free SAT Programs. Our college admissions workshops, created and staffed by International College Counselors, are so appreciated by students and their families throughout Broward County.
Advocating for libraries is a natural for the Stirling Road Branch. We have sent our branch manager to Tallahassee to advocate for libraries and have invited local politicians to serve as honorary members of our Board of Directors. Our honorary board members include State Representative Evan Jenne, County Commissioner Tim Ryan, County Commissioner Beam Furr, Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober, and City Commissioner Dick Blattner.
During the past few years, the Friends’ group has gone green. We have replaced our print copy of our newsletters with constant electronic updates and do most of our flyers and publicity through e-mail blasts.