Cindy Phillips, President of the Friends of the Library Southport & Oak Island, spoke at the St. James Service Club meeting on November 8, 2023 about how local libraries remain relevant today. Phillips acknowledged the Service Club’s grants and outlined how the Friends support the Harper Library in Southport and the Barbee Library on Oak Island and how SJSC members can support the Friends.

Phillips informed the group that our local libraries receive funding from Brunswick County and consequently compete for scarce resources. The Friends not only advocate for the libraries, but also provide funds for books, periodicals, audiobooks, and e-books. The Friends sponsor Meet the Author programs, lifelong learning programs, tech support, and children’s programs. Phillips emphasized that a Brunswick County library card provides access to these free resources.

For example, in November at the Harper Library, patrons can attend lectures regarding the Daily Life in Pompeii, join a write-in for National Novel Writing Month, or enjoy TV trivia. At the Barbee Library, chair yoga, a program about the Rise and Fall of China, and a pine needling workshop are slated.

Children can explore a world of fun and educational programming, including story time, chess, and science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (“STEAM”) programs. Phillips also highlighted the Friends’ funding of Read Away Boxes for children and teens—monthly boxes containing two library books, snacks, and prizes—and take-home STEAM projects, a perfect activity for visiting grandchildren, Phillips noted. 

Phillips then turned her focus to the many ways that SJSC members can support the friends, including by becoming a member of the Friends, donating a brick for the Harper Library’s Commemorative Reading Garden, volunteering, and shopping for, or donating books to, the Once More Bookstore at Southport Realty. The SJSC members came away from the program with a newfound appreciation for the depth and breadth of the Friends’ support of, and resources available at, our local libraries.