Henderson Libraries has a friend in volunteer, Leslie Finzer

Friends of Henderson Libraries raised more than $104,000 in book sales in 2011 to benefit district

HENDERSON, Nev.Behind the scenes at the Henderson Libraries is a group of volunteers who support the six branches by facilitating book donations from the community, providing volunteers for extra help within the libraries and fundraising throughout the year. Leslie Finzer, a retiree from Southern California, is one volunteer who wonders how she ever had time to work when there is so much to be done at the libraries.

The link between Finzer’s former life as a marketing executive for a financial services institution and current position as secretary on the Friends of Henderson Libraries Board of Directors may seem to be a fine one, but volunteering fuels her passion, she said.

“I’ve always loved books, and I’ve always loved libraries,” said Finzer. “It was a perfect fit.”

Like all Friends members, Finzer believes libraries are important and need to be supported by the community.

“Leslie and the rest of the Friends of Henderson Libraries are the heart and soul of this district,” said Tom Fay, executive director for Henderson Libraries. “Without their tireless work and support, the libraries wouldn’t operate as they do now.”

One of the primary ways the Friends supports the Henderson library district is through fundraising. In 2011, the organization raised $27,365 duringLibrary Tree Lane, the Friends’ largest fundraiser of the year, held during the holiday season. The sale of donated and discontinued books proved profitable as well, as $104,965 was raised during special monthly book sales, in-branch book stores and unique book sales on Amazon.com. When most of the books and magazines sell for under $1, the sales add up to a lot of books.

The Friends instituted the book sales in 2001 and in later years found selling unique items online – such as a previous year’s encyclopedia to a middle school in the Midwest – proved profitable as well.

“We took it on as something we could help the libraries do,” Finzer said. “They should concentrate on doing library things, and this was something we could take on.”

Additionally, Henderson Libraries couldn’t operate its six locations and numerous activities without the help of the Friends volunteers, who contributed more than 18,000 hours during the fiscal year 2011 (July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011). The hours equate to the time of almost nine full-time staff members; if each volunteer was a paid employee making $12 an hour, the cost to the library district would be over $200,000. This type of support is especially important during a time when the Henderson Libraries is faced with many budgeting challenges.

Residents can be a part of the Friends of the Henderson Libraries in many ways, including making an annual monetary donation, donating gently used books and volunteering their time.

“There are a number of ways to contribute to the libraries on a consistent or temporary basis,” Finzer said. “We thrive on donations. It’s free material to us, and we sell it at reasonable, incredibly low prices. Some of them are new books, suitable for gift giving, too.”

The Friends of Henderson Libraries meet at 10 a.m. monthly on the fourth Tuesday at the Paseo Verde Library, 280 S. Green Valley Parkway, near the 215 Beltway inHenderson.

For a list of monthly book sales, visit the Friends of Henderson Libraries website at www.hdplfriends.org or the Henderson Libraries at www.mypubliclibrary.com.

Established in 1943 as a single library in Downtown Henderson, Henderson Libraries operates six locations throughout Henderson. Henderson Libraries cooperates with other public libraries in Southern Nevada, the Nevada System of Higher Education, the Clark County School District and all other libraries around the state to provide quality service for Nevada’s residents.

For additional information on Henderson Libraries, visit the website or call 702-492-6581.