The Kodiak Public Library Association held its annual meeting on Tuesday and made plans for the upcoming year, including holding book sales and adding members.

The 100 or so member group is responsible for supporting Kodiak Public Library by raising funds, volunteering and advocacy. 

“We provide things for the library that are out of their budget,” KPLA Board Chair Jan Chatto said. 

Last year, for instance, the group sponsored an author to come visit the library and talk about her book, on top of another author visit the library itself was able to fund.

Most recently, KPLA bought some sturdy picnic tables for the back patio so people can sit or work outside. A new printer also arrived thanks to KPLA funds. 

Libraries also can’t sell things, but groups like KPLA, often called “friends of the library” groups, can raise money for the library. To that end, KPLA does things like hosting classes in the library, selling author’s books and selling used books, usually around Crab Fest or at a cart in the library. 

Next week is also National Friends of the Library week, which celebrates the work of groups like KPLA. 

This year, Chatto said, the group is trying to wrap up its Little Free Libraries project. Students at Kodiak Middle School built the 13 small structures that will house books that anyone can borrow and return or trade in and out. KPLA partnered with Hospice and Palliative Care to fund the little libraries. 

Now it’s just a matter of getting them out in the community, ideally inside business as opposed to outside private homes to protect them from the weather. 

“We’re thinking businesses might have more protected places for them,” Chatto said. 

Book sales are a big part of the way KPLA raises money. Most years it runs a booth at Crab Fest with more than 1,000 used books that have been donated. That didn’t happen this year, but the group is gearing up to try again next year.

In the past, they’ve also hosted book sales at Kodiak Island Brewery. Chatto said the association might host another sale before Crab Fest, if possible. 

To do that, KPLA is always looking for used books, though not textbooks or anything with mildew on it. 

In the past, library associations in Alaska have done considerable advocacy about library funding from the state when talks of budget cuts float around. With the state in serious debt and looking for places to cut funding, that might be necessary once again. 

They’re hoping to add members, especially board members, in the coming year too. Right now, the board is Chatto, Brian Himelbloom, Mike Sirofchuck, Pat Szabo and Martha Sager. Ideally, they’d have nine board members. 

Anyone interested in joining can find the KPLA membership form at www.kodiakpubliclibraryassociation.org. 

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