An Informal History by Kathryn Preyer
The idea of forming a support group for Everett Library came from Kathryn Preyer’s participation on the board of the Friends Group at UNC-G and seeing, first hand, what community support was engendered due to the interesting programs and library privileges that were offered to members. The librarian of Queens, Rose Anderson, was enthusiastic about the idea, as was Miss Thelma Albright, faculty member and former dean of students, and Dr. John Smiley, college president.
A group of friends, some Queens alumni and some not, were also interested, so an organizing meeting was held in April 1971 in what is now the Special Collections Room in Everett Library. Some one hundred people attended to hear short talks by the president, librarian, etc. to have coffee and cookies, and to sign up as Charter Members. Their enthusiasm was so exciting.
The purpose in forming the Friends was, as explained to the original group, to focus attention on the Library as the center of learning on campus, to strengthen ties between Queens College and the Charlotte community by planning events that would contribute to the cultural life of the city and bring people on campus, and to make useful gifts to the Library whenever possible, the “icing on the cake”.
Officers were appointed by Dr. Smiley with Helen Bouldin Jones president. A strong Board was picked, also, and plans were made for the first Book and Author Luncheon followed by the Annual Meeting in the Spring. Both events were successful and succeeded in attracting many members. By the tenth anniversary dinner, with Charles Kuralt as speaker, the membership was over nine hundred! The highest point was over one-thousand in 1992.
Looking back over the many years of existence and remembering all the meetings, parties for authors, receptions for patrons, books and coffee reviews, and especially the busy times of Book and Author Events, the Friends of the Library (FOL) purpose has been fulfilled. Thousands of people have been on Queens’ campus to hear over 100 authors at the annual Book and Author Event and many other authors for readings, Annual Meeting speakers, Fall Events, etc. Through these programs, FOL has offered a platform for the well-known writer as well as the novice, and members have enjoyed and learned from all of them.
Gifts to the Library, the “icing on the cake,” have been based on the special needs as recommended by the librarian to the Board. Books for browsing have been an item in the budget, as have computers, furniture, library renovations, etc.
Though not a fund-raising organization, FOL has contributed over $900,000 to
Everett Library through the years for various projects, including:
- $25,000.00 to help construct the Rena Harrell Special Collections Room
- $125,000.00 for books for Library accreditation
- $53,693.97 for Quiet Study Room
- $90,000.00 for renovations for the second floor of the library
In 2001, Friends of the Library had a capital campaign to raise money for an endowment to help with the expenses of the authors for the Book and Author event. Over $110,000 was raised for the Book and Author Endowment and Beverly Clark Book and Author Endowment.
The Ministrare Leadership Society recognized Friends of the Library in the fall of 2017 for its gifts of over a $1,000,000 to Everett Library.
All of this has been accomplished by hard-working, dedicated boards over the years. The various talents and strengths of the board members have been generously given for the benefit of the library and have been greatly appreciated by Queens College (since 2002, known as Queens University of Charlotte). Also, the loyalty of the members must not be forgotten, for without them, there would be no Friends.
Mrs. Kathryn Preyer is a founding board member, past president, and benefactor.
Mrs. Preyer has served as director and advisor to this board and her all-encompassing service is unparalleled.
Updated August 2018