Friends of the Hialeah Public Libraries is the only nonprofit organization supporting Hialeah’s public libraries, which first opened in 1925. Fresco y Más has supported the Friends through its Community Bag Program.
Please tell us about Friends of the Hialeah Public Libraries.
The Friends of the Hialeah Public Libraries Inc. is a nonprofit community membership organization that supports and promotes the library as a vital public resource through an array of activities from fundraising and programming to public relations and community outreach.
We were founded in 2004 and were started by library patrons who visited and participated in library programs and wanted to give back to the library.
What services are you providing to the community?
We support the library’s collection and programs by planning, implementing and assisting fundraising to enhance library and literacy efforts and services to our community. We also inform the public and governmental officials on issues affecting the library and advocate for excellence in library and literacy services.
Friends of the Hialeah Public Libraries provides invaluable volunteer services for the library and the community, and they promote educational and cultural enrichment through the use of the library. They do this to ensure that the community knows how the library is there to serve them. And we recruit members from our community on a continual basis, seeking representation that reflects our community’s population.
Many of these services are to sponsor the library programs for children, youth, and adults, and to encourage the unrestricted donation of gifts, endowments and bequests to the library from our community. We don’t have any other nonprofits that support our library.
Friends of the Hialeah Public Libraries provides invaluable volunteer services for the library and the community.
Tell us a story that illustrates the good work you are doing.
The Friends of the Hialeah Public Libraries participate our city’s annual events. They’ve raised money for the library by having raffles, used book sales, and garage sales, for examples. The funds raised assist the library in the purchase of program supplies and new books for the collection.
The Friends also assist Café Literario, which is a Spanish writer’s workshop/book club; the majority of people in our community speak Spanish. They helped in publishing the books of two writers from the café. The café also includes poets and short story writers.
The library has a summer reading challenge where a child reads five to 15 minutes a day and enters it into a log every time. At the end of the summer, the top readers of each section grouped by age, from PreK-K to Adults, receive a prize funded through the Friends. This program is to keep the mind active during the summer.
What do you want people to know about your organization?
The most important thing is that this nonprofit organization exists, and we are accepting donations. During the pandemic not only did the library’s funds get hit, but the Friends did as well because nobody was coming to the library since it was closed. So those book sales that we used to have that the Friends organized no longer took place. The raffles no longer took place. Getting the fundraising efforts back up has been a challenge for Friends of the Hialeah Public Libraries. That’s one of the things that we really want people to know. We are here, and we are accepting donations at this time.
The most important thing is that this nonprofit organization exists, and we are accepting donations.
How will you use the funds raised through the Fresco y Más Community Bag Program?
We can use the funds two different ways. They will enable us to add new books to our collection and also to support our programs. For example, we purchase supplies needed for our programs, which can also include refreshments. Recently we had an event with an award-winning author and the Friends supported that event by purchasing the refreshments.
We also have a small public garden for the community and in the past, we’ve purchased plants and soil. In addition, the Friends volunteer to work in the garden, making sure that things stay nice, healthy and clean.
Hialeah Public Libraries representatives Theresa Cuba, Libraries Services Supervisor, and Lazara Olivera were interviewed for this impact story.