by Kerstin Auer —

The Friends of the Library group checks all the boxes for anyone who wants to volunteer, but is not available for a big commitment. It’s an informal group of patrons who show their support for the library when called on, as a good friend would. Chelsea Werrun is the head volunteer and The Herald caught up with her to find out more about the organization that charges a one-time fee of only $5 for a lifetime membership.

The group got its start around the time the Merritt library was built; the project had gone slightly over budget and needed to raise about $40,000 to furnish the library. Desks, tables, chairs, and couches were on the list and, when the call for help went out, the Friends of the Library formed to complete the project. After the library was completed, the group continued to help when needed. Membership fluctuates, and while they stay Friends for life even after moving, some might not be actively involved anymore, so new members are always welcome.

“We have a membership list and whenever there are events or activities going on we just let people know” said Werrun. “We just had our Friends of the Library event in April and we got some new memberships that way; the last time I checked we had about 48 active members.”

Earlier this year, Werrun applied for the United Way Love Fund to bring the library and community together for several events. Once the funding was approved, she put the call out to the Friends, and Shirley Reynolds replied with the idea of a Newcomer’s Tea, which was held at the library on April 1.

“It was so fabulous, and just to see people talking again in a public space, it was so nice” noted Werrun. “We wanted folks that are new or haven’t been around or are just looking for conversations to come out and just reconnect again. I thought that was really, really awesome.”

There are two more events planned for this year, and Werrun is looking for ideas and input.

“My hope for one of the events is to find a local Indigenous author to talk about their writing process, or their book, or a little bit of both” added Werrun.

To join the Friends of the Library, complete the membership form available at the Merritt library, or reach out to Chelsea Werrun via email to [email protected].