ABOUT THE FRIENDS
The Friends of Appleton Public Library advocates and raises funds for the Appleton Public Library and serves as a bridge between the library and the greater Appleton community. Public funding isn’t enough to provide all of the library resources our community needs. With Friends funds, the Library provides enhanced programming and services for all ages, demographics, residents and visitors to the Fox Cities communities.
Since 2000, the Friends has given the Appleton Public Library $1.7 million in grants, which has funded a wide array of programming, technologies, summer reading, literacy development, career assistance and outreach to underserved populations. For more information on the most recent programming supported by the Friends, please visit our Grants Summaries.
FUN FACTS ABOUT THE FRIENDS
Since 2000, Friends has given the library over $1.7 million in grants.
Appleton Public Library was the first public library in Wisconsin to offer free Wi-Fi thanks to a Friends grant.
Last year alone Friends supported over 107 library programs, services or initiatives.
Over 90% of the financial support for the APL summer library program comes from Friends.
HISTORY OF FRIENDS
Friends of Appleton Public Library was formed when two separate organizations merged in 2009. Friends of Appleton Library, or FOAL, began in 1975 to support and advocate for a new library building in Appleton. FOAL achieved its goal and the new building opened in 1981. FOAL continued as a membership organization to provide financial support and advocacy after the new building was completed.
Appleton Library Foundation began in 1985 with a goal of creating an endowment of $1 million. The earnings would then be used to provide enhanced library programs and services beyond those funded by tax dollars. The Foundation reached its funding goal in the early 1990s, thereby creating the Library Endowment at the Community Foundation. This endowment provides "Friends grants" to the library each year, which supports programs, technologies, services, materials, and special projects.
In 2009, the Boards of those organizations voted to merge since their missions were the same: to support and enhance programs and services at Appleton Public Library. This new organization was incorporated as Friends of Appleton Library, Inc. or as we have come to be known: Friends of Appleton Public Library. The merged organization was better able to focus on Board and membership development, fundraising, and library advocacy.
Since 2009, Friends of Appleton Public Library continues to provide $65,000-$80,000 in grants to the library annually while advocating for importance of a 21st Century library in our community. 21st Century Libraries are community learning centers, far more than a place for books, and materials. They are a "third place," not home or school or work, but a place for community members to gather as a hub of learning. Librarians are community partners bringing together a spectrum of community organizations and individuals in collaborative initiatives. Friends of APL helps the Appleton Public Library achieve these high community aspirations.