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posted: 12/14/2010 2:49 PM

Huntley library gets more than $13,000

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The Huntley Area Public Library District is especially grateful this month for its friends. Its Friends Foundation, actually a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to helping the library serve the community.

The foundation voted at its December meeting to pass along more than $13,000 in donations to the library for reading programs, an online service called HelpNow, increased Internet connection speed and two Sony Readers.

Library Director Patrick McDonald said the library is blessed to have the Friends Foundation's help in bringing services and information to the community.

"It's just really a fantastic group to have supporting you," McDonald said.

Most of the donation is going toward funding the winter and summer reading programs this year. In the past the group has donated smaller amounts to the programs but this year it will completely fund all of the associated events and prizes.

Pamela Kempwerth is a library employee in charge of coordinating volunteer outreach. She is also the Friend liaison and works with the foundation. Kempwerth said the reading programs are important to the group because its mission is to support reading and literature.

"Hopefully by the Friends giving some money, that will free the budget up for the library to do other things," Kempwerth said. "That's our hope."

HelpNow is an online service with tutoring for students in kindergarten through high school and résumé and cover letter support for job seekers. People will be able to access the service through the library's website anytime after Jan. 1.

The two Readers, similar to the Amazon Kindle, were donated by Sony with the help of the Friends Foundation. McDonald said the library staff is still working out the details but the Readers will likely be available for checkout with a selection of pre-purchased titles sometime at the beginning of 2011.

The higher Internet speeds should be available in the coming weeks.

The Huntley Area Library District Friends Foundation just became a 501(c) 3 organization in February but an earlier incarnation of the group regularly raised money and donated to the library as well, McDonald said.

Regular book sales throughout the year garner money for the foundation as well as various other fundraising events.

"It's a great donation," McDonald said. "But really, it's kind of nothing new for them."