As I reflect on 2020, I am met with many emotions. My year began with the death of my beloved mother on January 9th, after a five-year battle with cancer. Four days later, our dog, Max, passed away while at the boarders. I had a feeling that 2020 was going to be a year to remember, but little did I know at that time how different this year would turn out to be.

When I returned to Southport after my mother’s funeral, I realized that my previously full plate had suddenly been cleared. It was then that I received a call from Diana Fotinatos, President of Friends of the Library Southport & Oak Island. I knew since moving to Southport last July that I wanted to find a local nonprofit that I shared a passion with to donate my time, talent, and treasure. After speaking with Diana, I learned very quickly, that FOLSOI fit that bill.

I began to learn about the FOLSOI mission, the value they provided to the Harper and Barbee libraries, and the impact they had on our community. I met with Diana and some of the board members. I was extremely excited to jump in and begin volunteering.

Then COVID-19 hit, and our world changed. Over the past 10 months, I have acted as Publicity Chair, Vice President, and now President of the Board of FOLSOI. I have come to learn that even in challenging times, this organization is committed to making things better for our library branches and community. We have an amazing board, a tremendous group of volunteers who are anxious to give of their time again, and a hardworking, dedicated library staff. I am so thankful to this group of volunteers who selflessly give of their talents and time to help make Harper and Barbee Libraries meaningful resources for people of all ages in our community.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I am thankful that I was introduced to FOLSOI this year. I am thankful for the wonderful people I have met through FOLSOI who have quickly become true friends. I am thankful for the volunteers who get the work done, even during this crazy pandemic. And I am thankful to my wonderful mother, who instilled in me a love of reading and an appreciation for our local libraries. I know that she would be incredibly pleased that I am a small part of this amazing organization known as FOLSOI.