Editor’s Note: This continues our Celebrate Community series on nonprofit organizations that improve North Okaloosa County residents’ quality of life.
CRESTVIEW — One of the Friends of the Crestview Library’s last official acts in the months before disbanding Sept. 21 was to purchase over $29,000 worth of books and equipment for the library, North Okaloosa County schools and school children.
"One of our goals is to make sure that the reading programs on the North Okaloosa end are all in sync and that the children are supplied with books that they can read," Lucy Smith, former Friends president, said.
A minimum of 10 books chosen by Crestview Public Library Director Marie Heath are now in the library and all North Okaloosa County public schools with third- through sixth-graders.
Along with those purchases, the organization provided Antioch, Baker, Bob Sikes, Laurel Hill, Northwood, Riverside, Richbourg and Walker Elementary schools with their top 10 book requests.
The Friends also honored former reference librarian Sandra Dreaden by purchasing two full boxes of the "The Lemonade War" for each school. Each student in grades three through six will get a copy of it that they can take home. The Jacqueline Davies book tells the story of a brother and sister who don’t get along. They fight by trying to sell more lemonade than their sibling does.
"That book is particularly good for math for children and it teaches them how to run a business, for instance, and to be an entrepreneur … through their math skills and thought processes, and they retain these learning experiences their whole lives," Smith said.
"[Dreaden] and her entire family read that book when they were in school in the fourth, fifth or sixth grade, including her husband, Art," Smith said.
The group also purchased:
•Every book on the library's Amazon wishlist through Sept. 13. Topics include travel, fiction and nonfiction for adults and children.
•A new television
•A document camera that doesn't require film
•A wall-sized map of the U.S. with labeled state capitals and information about each state
•A tabletop world globe
•New book carts and storage containers
•A new couch and attached table and chair sets for the Friends Reading Area underneath the Sandra Saltness Parks commissioned mural. Some of the seating is Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant.
•Art supplies (such as easels)
•Supplies for library programs
In previous years, the group funded the Whiz Kid Statue in front of the library, designed and purchased the art gallery hanging system on the library walls, and the foyer display cases.
Former Friends treasurer Bonny Crews said supporting the group was a family community-service project for her and her husband, Steve; her parents, Dot and Bob Moxcey; and her sister-in-law, Nancy Moxcey.
"We all worked together with the Friends of the Crestview Library, first writing letters, then helping with the twice-yearly book sales and becoming board officers," she said.
And they will continue "to help keep the library books current and promote community reading activities," such as the Noel Night program the Friends assisted with every year.
She said the Friends’ biggest accomplishment was filling the library with all the extras required for the services it provides.
"I want to thank the community for supporting our book sales all these years, as [they] raised all the funds spent directly on the Crestview library," she said.