The Wilton Manors Public Library was inaugurated in the 1960s. In 1970, local residents created the Friends of the Library of Wilton Manors.
Its mission statement supports the continued growth of the library and its resources. To follow the history of the FLWM is to learn of a group of devotees that have continued to help a centerpiece of Wilton Manors. The American Library Association (ALA) recently held its 13th annual “National Friends of Library Week.”
The event is meant to commemorate the impact of similar organizations nationwide. These groups partner with local libraries and enhance their specific chapter’s offerings.
With contributions made by FLWM, the Wilton Manors library was the first to obtain public access computers in all of Broward County. They continue to support the library’s access to technology, and they maintain the computers they purchased. When the library moved to a new building in 2003, they provided $120,000 dollars in new furnishings.
Their more lighthearted projects include a patron subscription to the popular family database, ancestry.com. Benjamin Little, treasurer of the group, is very proud of the group’s contribution to the children’s section. Several years ago, the group installed acoustic paneling to cut down noise in this area of the library. The treasurer does mention that the children’s story hour on Monday mornings is one to “restore faith in humanity.”
The Friends of the Library also tries to organize a quarterly lecture for adults, described as “topical, interesting, and not political.” In October of 2018 they hosted Alyn Darnay, an acclaimed film director/producer. This was a well received event, free and open to the public.
Their current promotion is for their next event “The Sea and Me – Prevent a CO2 Calamity,” taking place on Jan. 31, and put together by the Youth Environmental Alliance. The event is at 7 p.m. with Happy Hour at 6:30 p.m , and promises to be a fun event for those interested. They hope to see many members of the community.
The FLWM has a history of lobbying the City and external groups for grants. These grants make crucial programs possible. They also remain informed of City budget and planning meetings.
On several occasions, Broward County intended a takeover of the library, and they kept constituents informed of the proposed changes. The Wilton Manors Library continues to be an independent institution. Currently, the FLWM is looking for volunteers to tutor younger children, as well as participants for their monthly book tent sales.