Friends of Appleton Public Library is an independent, non-profit organization that supports Appleton Public Library through fundraising, advocacy, and outreach.
Friends of Appleton Public Library advocates and raises funds for 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 delivers enhanced programming and services for all ages, demographics, residents, and visitors to the Fox Cities communities.
Since 2000, Friends has given 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 Friends, visit Your Impact.
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 the 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 become 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 has continued to provide $65,000-$80,000 in grants to the library annually while advocating for the 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 learning hub. Librarians are community partners bringing together various community organizations and individuals in collaborative initiatives. Friends of APL helps the Appleton Public Library achieve these high community aspirations.