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A “Friends of the Ogden Carnegie Free Library” was organized during 1961 to promote improved library service for Ogden City and the surrounding County. Their first major project was to develop a campaign that would lead to a new county library system and a new public main library in Ogden City.

During 1964, the Ogden Friends group successfully lobbied the Utah State Legislature to pass a law, allowing libraries to be organized countywide. Until this time, only cities were authorized to levy a tax for the provision of library service. The Ogden Friends also organized and successfully ran a campaign advocating passage of a general obligation bond to provide funding for the new main library. With the passage of the bond on December 8, 1964, funding for a Weber County Main Library was secured and the County Library system was born.

The Ogden Carnegie Free Library closed and all its assets were transferred to Weber County. Friends of the Weber County Library officially organized October 23, 1967, in preparation for the opening of the new Main Library, April 4, 1968. Since then, Friends of the Weber County Library have continued their advocacy for improved library services.

For example, the Weber County Friends of the Library have been on the front-line defending the freedom to read and to know, sponsoring programs such as poetry readings, lectures, and book discussions. In recognition of their 40-year advocacy and support of public library services in Weber County and throughout the State, the Utah Library Association selected them to receive their “2005 Community Service Award.”

During 2013, Friends of the Weber County Library led a public awareness campaign that resulted in public approval of a general obligation bond to pay for a $45,000,000, five-year capital improvement plan (http://www.weberpl.lib.ut.us/bond-election-historical-overview). This funding was used to build a new Headquarters/Southwest Branch Library in Roy; renovate the Main Library in Ogden; renovate and expand the North Branch in North Ogden; and construct additional street parking at the Ogden Valley Branch in Huntsville (http://www.weberpl.lib.ut.us/capital-plan-updates). During 2014, Friends of the Weber County Library were recognized by the American Library Association with their “Special Project Award” for “their outstanding planning, implementation, evaluation, innovation, and community involvement in orchestrating the successful 2013 general obligation bond election.”

As in Weber County, Friends of Libraries around the country have become more than participants in providing funding and volunteer service. They serve as advocates for their library; they are emissaries and good will ambassadors. Friends everywhere make more Friends with their enthusiasm and continued support of their libraries’ goals and missions.

You may join the Friends of the Weber County Library by mailing your donation of $25 or more to: Friends of the Weber County Library, 2039 W 4000 S, Roy, Utah 84067.

EVELYN BERTILSON
President
Friends of the Library