Friends Group

Who are we?

A non-profit organization of citizens who believe that an excellent library is essential to a community, and who work to promote and assist Russell Library.

What are our goals?

The Friends raise and receive funds for the library for books, equipment, programs, and staff training needs not covered in the City budget. For the future, the Friends hope to:

  • Continue to foster citizens’ interest in supporting a superior library, one equipped with staff, collections, and facilities to serve the cultural needs of an expanding community.
  • Raise money for library materials, equipment, and programs which are needed, but for which there are not enough funds in the City budget.
  • Encourage members of the community to recognize and use the functions and facilities of the library.
  • Promote an understanding of a high-quality library with public officials, so that appropriations are sufficient to meet the needs.
  • Increase the membership in the Friends of the Russell Library to bring together concerned citizens who appreciate the value of a fine library, and who are willing to devote time to accomplish our goals.

There are three ways to become involved.

  •  As a member.  Simply fill out the membership form, print it out, and mail it, along with  your check to cover the type of membership you desire. Forms can also be dropped at the check-out desk of the Library.
  • Through a donation.  Gifts in any amount are gratefully received by the Friends and are disbursed along with other funds to support library activities. The Friends of Russell Library is a 501 (c) 3 organization.  Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of applicable law.
  • By volunteering. Friends volunteer with used book sales, home delivery, and special events.

Accomplishments of the Friends of the Library

Since its founding in 1983, the Friends have made significant contributions to the life and work of the Russell Library:

  • Funds – Thanks to money from donations and book sales, the Friends have contributed more than $500,000 to improve Russell Library services.
  • Equipment - Through the Friends, the Library has been able to acquire a wide variety of useful equipment, such as a new piano for concerts, draperies and audio-visual system in the Hubbard Room; computers for public and staff use; and tables and chairs for summer use in the courtyard.
  • Books and Media - Each year, the Friends make funds available to the Library for a wide range of books, films and recordings.
  • Special programs - The organization supports the annual Edna and Benjamin Shenker Creative Writing Contest for young writers, Paton Storytelling Contest for adults who have lived or worked in Middletown, and Children’s Summer Reading Program.
  • Homebound Library Cards - This service is for patrons residing in Middletown who are unable to travel to the Library. A Library volunteer delivers books, magazines, films and recordings to the confined elderly individual.
  • Museum Passes – The Friends provide funds for the very popular Museum Passes, providing free access or discounts to nearly 20 cultural, educational and recreational facilities around the state.