Friends of the Library, Bay Village: Over 60 Years of Friendship
by Michele Yamamoto
The Bay Village Friends of the Library has announced their latest book sale at the new Cuyahoga County Public Library, Bay Village Branch building for Saturday, August 27, 2022. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Friends book sales and the 61st year of the group’s formation. To celebrate, we at the Bay Village Historical Society have combed through our records and photos, including many generously donated by the Bay Village Library itself, to compile a short history of the formation of the Friends and their first book sales.
As part of National Library Week in April of 1961, the Cuyahoga County Library system called for “Friends of Library” groups to be formed at local branches. Joseph H. Santone, an auditor for the Illuminating Company, was elected chairman at the Bay Village Branch’s first formal meeting. Mrs. Robert L. Vickroy (June) was listed as the first elected secretary, John Sturges, Jr., the publicity chairman, Mrs. John R. Van Syckle (Norma), membership chairman, and Dr. Daniel E. Marsalek, book collection chairman. Representatives from various local organizations in Bay Village served as members. That summer, the objectives of the organization as stated in their constitution were “to promote a better understanding in the community of the needs of the library, to lead in the development of programs which will extend and improve the use of the library services and facilities, to stimulate benefactions to the library, to render assistance to the library staff upon request by the librarian and to encourage the study of library science as a career.” Dues for families and individuals in Bay Village were set at $1 per year, $.50 for student members. Local organizations were asked to give $10 per year.
The Bay Village Exchange Club (the local chapter of the national service organization) helped to sponsor a book collection and sale for the Bay Village Library by June of 1961. Containers for the deposit of books, old movies, and records were placed in Bay Village shopping centers for the public to donate their items. By the end of the year, they had collected over 3,700 items. Branch Manager Helen Casey, selected 400 of these books for the library’s own collections, stating that the donated books would have cost the new library at least $1,200. One volunteer of the Bay Women’s Club service group for the library, the “Book Marks,” stated in an appeal to donors “Friends of the Bay Village Library are citizens who share the conviction that books afford people a matchless means of enriching their lives and acquiring a greater understanding of the world in which they live.” Now President Santone stated that he hoped his group would help the library obtain more reference books, expand its facilities and services, purchase needed equipment, increase “best seller” circulation, enlarge its record library, obtain more foreign language books and encourage students to study library science.
The Friends must have received the number of books they needed because that April of 1962 they announced they would be holding their first book sale for four days during National Library Week that month. The Book Marks stepped up to help with the sale of the books and Bay Junior High School students made posters to advertise the sale that were hung all around town.
The sale was considered a success with $600 raised. $250 was spent on children’s books and $350 on reference books. The sale also helped double the membership in the Friends group. Santone wrote to Branch Manager Helen Casey when reporting on the sale about the “friendly spirit which has developed between the library staff and our organization. We hope this is only the beginning in our joint effort to provide the Bay Village Library with an excellent collection and to make the Library a vital part of our community.”
By February of 1964, the Bay Village Friends of the Library had some new elected officers, including retired surgeon Dr. Dwight S. Spreng, a book lover and new resident of Bay. Dr. Spreng led the group in planning their second book sale to be held that April, two years after the first. The sale brought in about $600, some of which was marked to buy new furnishings for the library staff room.
The Bay Village Historical Society records do not contain much concerning the Friends until 1978, just a few years before a new library building was built at 502 Cahoon Rd. They began publishing a newsletter in the fall of 1978 called “Stacks of Information” which detailed the news and activities of the Friends and the Bay Village Library. Throughout the 1980s, the group sponsored various programs such as concert, travel and cooking series. You could learn “Concepts of Microwave Cooking” or how to bake bread during “Cooking with the Friends.” A juried art show was held through at least most of the decade. The book sales during this time period increased to usually about four a year.
Today the Friends of the Library, Bay Village is led by President Scott Rhee. Rhee says he started his work with the group during high school, when he worked as a library page in Bay. Members of the Friends asked if he could help them move around the heavy boxes of books they had collected for a sale. He soon found himself getting involved to a greater degree over the years.
The Friends’ latest book sale is for one day only, Saturday, August 27th from 9:00am-5:00pm. Items will be sold for only $.50 to $1 a piece and will include children’s, teen’s, adult fiction and nonfiction books as well as puzzles and games. If you would like to volunteer your time to help with the sale and meet some fellow book lovers, contact Holly Tramba at email@example.com. If you are unable to make the sale this year, you may still purchase books from the Friends of the Bay Village Library all year round by shopping their shelf at the entrance of the Bay Village Library at 27400 Wolf Rd.
Memberships and donations to the Bay Village Historical Society help keep the records of our town’s history preserved and accessible to all and can be made by visiting our webpage https://www.bayhistorical.com/support-us/.
If you would like a more hands-on experience with history, consider volunteering as a docent or behind-the-scenes with our collections by contacting us at (440) 871-7338 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.