For a half-century, the Friends of the Library in Arlington Heights has served as a major booster for the learning commons through their volunteerism and fundraising efforts.

The nonprofit organization -- now 400 members strong -- was honored this week with a proclamation from the village board on the occasion of the group's 50th anniversary.

"We all do this because we like the library," said Mike Dennehey, the Friends' president.

Fundraising has been a major focus of the organization for the last 20 to 25 years, in which some $1.7 million has been raised through book sales. The funds have been donated back to the library to support events such as the One Book, One Village community read program, Sunday Musicale concert series, July 4 parade float and giveaways, exhibits, holiday lighting, Hendrickson Room audio/video system and Blu-ray DVD collection.

The Friends now host four book sales a year; the next one is April 28-29. They also maintain a book boutique, where used books and magazines are for sale year-round.

"All the funds that we raise come from our book sales -- that's coming from 25 cents, dollar, two dollar books," Dennehey said. "It adds up fast, and it's very beneficial to the library and to the community."