The Friends of the Gaston County Public Library is a non-profit, local organization founded in 1983 to:
- Advocate for library services in Gaston County
- Sponsor special library programming for all ages
- Raise funds for specific library needs
- Promote volunteerism in library activities
I dare say that there is no greater advocacy group to the public library than the Friends of the Library. The Friends of the Gaston County Public Library is no exception. With a rich history dating back to 1955, the Friends continue to be an integral part of the Gaston County Public Library. Today the Friends are not only known for their advocacy efforts, but also for their fundraising and dedication to quality, cultural programming at no-cost to the residents of Gaston County.
As early as 1955, there was discussion about a Friends of the Library organization. In November 1955, Public Affairs Committee Chair, Mrs. W. B. Boney (Maude), called on members of the Altrusa Club of Gastonia to attend a planning meeting on December 8, 1955. Mrs. Boney not only requested the member’s attendance but requested two representatives from their respective groups. The goal was to “work toward the aim of bringing Gaston County’s library rank up from 61st in library income to nearer its proper position as one of the six largest and wealthiest counties in North Carolina.” While little information was kept beyond their second meeting on January 19, 1956, it is safe to say that their work did not stop. In 1957, Gaston County voters passed a 5-cent tax levy to support branch library operations in seven communities and earmarked $250,000 in capital funds for building construction.
Fast forward almost 30 years to 1983 where once again, a Friends group stepped up to help the
Gaston County library. Despite having moved into a 66,000 sq ft facility on Garrison Blvd roughly five years earlier, library staff recognized the need to deaccession materials due to poor condition and inaccurate information. In an attempt to be fiscally responsible, library staff held an annual book sale to raise funds for the Library. With a reduction in library staff and the increased demand this created for other library staff, those book sales ceased until a new group stepped into the limelight to form the Friends of the Gaston County Public Library. With bylaws approved on September 20, 1983, the Friends of the Gaston County Public Library were on their way. In April 1985, the Friends of the GCPL held their first book sale which has continued annually until 2020. Following this first book sale, the Friends of the GCPL received their 501(c)3 designation from the Internal Revenue Service on September 9, 1986. The rest is as they say, history.
The Gaston County Public Library enjoys the support of the Friends of the Gaston County Public Library, a non-profit, local organization founded in 1983.
The Friends of the Gaston County Public Library:
- serve as a library advocate in the community
- present special library programs for all ages
- raise funds for designated library needs
- encourage volunteer participation in library activities
- the annual Book Sale
- ongoing Meet the Author presentations and book signings
- informative and entertaining speakers
- children’s Summer Reading guest artist & performers
- Arts-in-Education programming for area students and adults
- special Learning Opportunities, including writers’ workshops
- and much, much more!
- advance notice of upcoming Library events
- timely newsletters featuring Library events and news
- the Annual Meeting – delightful entertainment and delicious refreshments
- volunteer opportunities to participate in Friends’ projects that provide short-term assistance and ongoing service to the Library community
Become a Friend of the Gaston County Public Library today!
Annual Memberships and Lifetime Memberships are accepted throughout the year.
ANNUAL MEMBERSHIPS begin on June 1 and expire on May 31:
Student (18 years and under) $5
Club/Business/Group $200 or more
To join, return a completed application form and payment to any Gaston County Public Library branch location, or mail to:
Friends of the Gaston County Public Library
1555 E. Garrison, Blvd.
Gastonia, NC 28054
Membership brochures and forms are available at all Gaston County Public Library locations, or download here.
2022-2023 EXECUTIVE BOARD
President: Linda Klocker
Vice-President: Bernie Carpenter
Secretary: Melinda Pierce
Treasurer: Sandra Jones
Past President: Pamela Poteat
Newsletter: Dandria Bradley
Membership: Carol Teeter
Book Sale: Pamela Poteat & Melinda Pierce
Hospitality: Sandy DeMarco
Gail Silkstone (ex officio)
GCPL Friends’ FOCUS Newsletter
GCPL Friends’ Membership Brochure
704-868-2164/Dial 4 for more information.