By REBECCA WEBSTER
Recorder News Staff
With a newly re-energized Friends group, the Amsterdam Free Library will hold a two-day holiday event this week to garner new support, while spreading a little holiday cheer.
The Friends of the Library reformed just this November after a several year hiatus, said group vice president and library trustee Thom Georgia.
"Recently, in the last year, with many new changes being at the library, we have seen a new need, or actually a re-energized want, by the community to see the library actively participate," Georgia said.
With a new director, Nicole Hemsley, Georgia said it's been a collective effort on a many fronts to bring new life to the library.
That's how the holiday event came up.
Named FaLaLa Library Festival, the free two-day event will begin today at 6 p.m. where children and parents will have the chance to craft ornaments and write letters to Santa, Hemsley said.
The kids will then trim the trees in the library to get ready for Saturday.
Katie Capel, Children's Program coordinator at the library, said with a successful summer program for the kids, she is seeing more involvement from the younger generation in the library, but she always hopes to see more.
"The kids need things outside of the school setting," she said. "They get excited."
At Saturday's event, which will begin at 11 a.m., there will be a make-your-own hot cocoa bar, a sweet-treat station, more crafts, and even a visit from Santa Claus himself.
Georgia, who formerly sat as the director of the library, said there had always been a small holiday event at the library, but this year it was decided to make a broader event out of it.
"Now, with a larger network, we have the resources in place," he said, adding that all of the materials for the event were donated in part by the library, and in part by the new Friends of the Library group.
As of now, Georgia said, there are about 36 members in the Friends of the Library and that number is growing.
"By having a more pronounced event, I think it provides two opportunities," Georgia explained. "One for the library, in terms of begin a constant resource as it has always been, and also as a visibility event for the new Friends group."
As part of those opportunities, the library will be promoting their holiday Friends drive throughout the event.
"It enables community members to purchase a 2013 Friends membership as a gift for a loved one, just as if they were to purchase one for themselves," Georgia said. "They receive a gift card which entitles the owner to all of the same memberships, newsletters, waved fines, access to special collections, and advanced notice to events."
But overall, he explained, the overarching goal is to just get families in to utilize the library more.
Capel said its even more pertinent for the children.
"It's very, very important for the children to be involved in the library because that's how they form their love of reading," she said. "When you're a child, that's where it starts. And I've seen it."
Both days are free to the community, and no registration is required.