Friends Board Chair Mickey Gomez's tenure is over after eight years of service, and HCLS President & CEO Tonya Aikens provided some lovely departing words for her at this year's Evening in the Stacks:
Thank you for eight years of dedicated service to HCLS through your service on the Friends and Foundation Board of Directors. Your love for our library system shines brightly!
Through your service, and under your leadership, the Friends helped the library realize projects and initiatives that will have deep and lasting impact across our community for years to come.
Thank you for your firm belief in HCLS’ ability to provide the best in public education and to transform lives in doing so.
In great appreciation of your time, talent, and treasure. Your passion for HCLS is ever apparent in your smile and through your actions.
You can read Mickey's thoughts about her tenure here
It’s been both an honor and a privilege to support the Howard County Library System through the years, first fundraising through Evening in the Stacks and then being elected to serve on the Friends & Foundation Board of Directors beginning eight years ago. During that time, I served first as Donor Engagement Committee Chair, then as Vice-Chair, and now as Chair.
It’s also been both an honor and a privilege to work to support my very favorite Library System.
With your help and support, we’ve achieved an incredible amount over the past three years:
Simply stated, I love our library system.
Now more than ever, access to high quality public education for all ages is critical, and witnessing firsthand the many ways in which HCLS takes this mission to heart is inspiring. From On the Road to Kindergarten to the new Maker Space at Glenwood; from Undesign the Redline to Brave Voices, Brave Choices; from Teen Spaces to Battle of the Books; from the DIY Collection to the Art Collection - watching HCLS grow and thrive even in the most challenging of times is such an extraordinary gift.
Thank you so very much for the opportunity to serve as the leader of Friends & Foundation of HCLS.
I’ll end back where I began: it has truly been an honor and a privilege.
Yours in gratitude,
Mickey Gomez | she/her/hers
Friends & Foundation of HCLS Board of Directors
You can read a farewell message from HCLS President & CEO Tonya Aikens to Mickey here
Thank you to Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz for 6 years of outstanding service on the Board of Directors of Friends & Foundation of Howard County Library System.
"Under Buffy's leadership as Chair of the Communications Committee, Friends built a robust communications strategy, created our own independent website, grew our online presence, engaged with donors at an unprecedented level, and celebrated our very favorite Library System in every possible way. We are so grateful." - Mickey Gomez, Board Chair
She demonstrated that Friends Make It Happen each and every day through her enthusiasm, creativity, dedication, and leadership.
Our Howard County community is stronger and brighter thanks to Buffy.
#FriendsMakeItHappen #HoCoMD #HCLS
Spring is here, and that means it’s time for Friends & Foundation of Howard County Library System’s Second Annual Spring Fundraiser!
This year, with HCLS’s much-anticipated gala event Evening in the Stacks moving to May, we’ve bundled our fundraising efforts together in a single online location.
Our gorgeous flower baskets are back, and already in high demand! Last year they sold out, so if you’d enjoy welcoming May with a 12” hanging basket of cheerful sun-loving flowers while supporting your favorite library system, you’ll want to act fast! Baskets will be available for pickup May 4th, 5th, and 7th at the Miller Branch.
This year’s raffle includes 6 unique gift baskets individually curated by each HCLS branch, featuring a remarkable array of local gift cards to restaurants, stores, shops, and markets, tickets to local events, tours, and museums, unique collectibles, and more! The baskets range in value from $500 to $1,000, and you’ll definitely want to check them all out before deciding which to try for - or you can try for them all!
We’ll also have drawings for two tickets to Evening in the Stacks: Across Africa along with our Grand Prize: a Microsoft Surface Go 3 tablet.
And for our wine connoisseurs, we’re once again offering a Wine Pull available exclusively at Evening in the Stacks. Your ticket will get you a randomly selected bottle of fabulous wine, each valued at an estimated $20+.
All proceeds this year go to support Teen Spaces, safe and welcoming locations in each HCLS branch that allow teens to gather without paying for a membership or having to buy something. They'll have access to interest-driven learning along with resources promoting empowerment, mental wellness, digital and tech fluency, and more!
You can also donate directly to support STEM tools for teens who have expressed an interest in engaging with coding or digital media creation such as 3-D modeling, music-making, graphic design, video production, and social and educational gaming – all in a fun, inclusive, and positive environment.
We could not be more excited about any of this, which is a lot considering how much we love our local library system. On behalf of Friends & Foundation of HCLS, we hope you'll join in the fun while supporting Teen Spaces and HCLS. Thank you!
Thanks, Howard County Library System, for the sneak preview of the newly renovated Glenwood Branch of HCLS!
It's light, airy, open, and gorgeous.
Most importantly? It's welcoming. It makes you want to stay, to browse, to connect, and to learn.
There's a dedicated space for teens, a Builders' Barn for children, and all kinds of incredible resources from a Recording Booth to a Laser Cutter Engraver, and a Digital Memory Station (need to digitize old VHS tapes?).
There's a Large Format Printer, two 3D Printers, a Button Maker, and tinker boxes and drawers filled with Legos and duct tape and all kinds of things to use to build and create and play.
There's also a small café and a glorious patio that will surely be a coveted spot during good weather.
The Glenwood Branch of HCLS reopens to the public this Saturday. If you can't make it then, you'll definitely want to make it a destination soon.
Here's a link to more photos (taken by HCLS Multimedia Production Specialist Geoffrey Baker) - they're well worth a click to see so much more of what's available and they're gorgeous!
Congratulations to our very favorite library system and to everyone along the way who made this happen!
Howard County Library System (HCLS) routinely ranks among the best places in the country to live (Money Magazine). We have it all, from downtown Columbia to Patapsco Valley State Park. Instrumental in our community’s success has always been Howard County Library System, the only five-star library in Maryland (Library Journal).
The Library’s success comes from always striving to exceed our customers’ expectations. Not only does HCLS lend books and movies, but also tools and art. Not only does HCLS teach early literacy classes to children, but also brings in well-known authors and speakers for adults. Not only can you stream and download electronic books and audiobooks, but you can also conduct genealogical research and practice a new language with HCLS online resources.
Truly, our public library provides countless services and benefits the community in a wide variety of ways, striving to ensure that everyone who walks in the doors is met with a welcoming environment and dedicated space where learning, creativity, and friendships can flourish.
This year, HCLS is focusing particularly on teens.
Do you remember being a teenager? What was your favorite place to be? What made it so?
HCLS is poised to be the third place for teenagers: somewhere that’s not school and not home, but still safe and fun. Safe spaces are important for tweens and teens, a place to be themselves, cement friendships, and interact with adult mentors.
Teens have a healthy need for their own places, and HCLS is working to provide exactly that.
Each of the Library’s six branches has a designated location within the building set aside for middle and high school students. At present, the spaces tend to focus on academic needs - with tables and chairs for homework and silent study - but are absent furnishings and technology that invite teens to stay and engage with the resources and one another.
Your donation to Friends & Foundation of HCLS will help change that!
While the library will always remain an excellent place to learn and do schoolwork, HCLS wants to do even more!
● The Library will outfit its teen areas with comfortable furniture that encourages connection, collaboration, and conversation.
● HCLS will enhance offerings with even more opportunities of interest, including more hands-on STEM and Arts education, and other educational, fun, and even quirky things teens declare as important to them.
● Library staff and community engagement teams plan to listen to these young customers’ thoughts on what they want and need, then work to fulfill those requests, creating lifelong Library patrons along the way.
We are asking for your help in providing these nurturing, welcoming spaces.
Howard County has very few places for teens to just be themselves, places that don’t require a purchase or a membership to be there. HCLS wants to be that free and open place, and your donation to the Friends can help make this happen.
The Friends & Foundation of HCLS is a nonprofit organization that supports HCLS in its mission to deliver high quality education for all ages, and most recently, with the new Pop-Up Library to meet the youngest customers in their neighborhoods and help them get ready for Kindergarten.
Now, HCLS is focusing equally on teenagers and providing what they need to thrive and succeed.
Many thanks in advance for your consideration of support!
Friends & Foundation of HCLS
By Mickey Gomez, Chair of the Friends & Foundation of Howard County Library System
Today, the Howard County Library System and Howard County Government hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony launching the addition of a new Pop-up Library van to the "On the Road to Kindergarten" program, and as the Chair of the Friends and Foundation of the HCLS, I had the honor of saying a few words about our support for this great program.
Here's what I said:
"When Tonya (Aikens, President & CEO of the HCLS) approached us about supporting the Library’s application for the Rise to the Challenge Grant, we eagerly said, “Yes!” and immediately began thinking of other ways we could support this incredible new service for our community.
In a county where we celebrate our national rankings, we also have an increasing number of neighbors who are asset limited, income constrained, and employed. According to the Association of Community Services’ FY 2020 Self-Sufficiency Indicator Report, the number of households living below the poverty level in Howard County has increased 14 percent since 2012. Twenty percent of Howard County’s families earn less than $75,000 a year. And an estimated 5.5 percent of children under 18 were living in households below the poverty level.
And as Tonya noted, this impacts how families are able to support their children. Studies have shown that children from low socioeconomic neighborhoods have less access to reading material at home when compared to children in more affluent neighborhoods.
When this new On the Road to Kindergarten PopUp Library comes to ALICE communities, Library instructors will prepare young children for kindergarten by teaching social foundations, language, literacy, and mathematics. The Library’s team will help parents and caregivers select developmentally appropriate books, toys, and media to support their children’s learning at home.
All of this ... is why the Friends & Foundation of HCLS has been raising money to support this new mobile unit - so together, we can create new outcomes for our friends and neighbors in Howard County. I'm honored to be here today to invite you to join us ... so we can continue supporting the collections and materials inside, and, so we can collectively ensure that this incredible new effort grows and thrives!"
Contributions through the Friends & Foundation site (www.friendsHCLS.org) will continue to fund books and supplies supporting the educational and social-emotional development of our youngest residents.
The next time you’re near Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods, please take a moment or two to look for a beautifully painted picnic table featuring the exceptional artwork of multimedia artist Jereme Scott.
When the Inner Arbor Trust announced the opportunity for local community based groups, non-profits, and artists to work together to submit a design for one of the new picnic tables in Symphony Woods, Friends & Foundation of Howard County Library system immediately reached out to our partners at the Library to collaborate. We connected with Jereme, the Adult Art Curriculum Specialist at HCLS, who came up with a gorgeous design celebrating art, nature, and community.
Jereme, who received his MFA from Howard University and has been a Resident Artist at Howard County Arts Council since 2009, was one of 15 artists selected to decorate newly constructed picnic tables through a juried process led by the Inner Arbor Trust.
We’re grateful to Jereme for designing and creating this collaborative piece, and hope you’ll stop by to see this and the other designs whenever you’re in downtown Columbia.
This fall, HCLS will be introducing a new mobile library van, On the Road to Kindergarten, that will bring library collections, services, and programs to all corners of the community, focusing on preparing children from birth to three for kindergarten.
The Friends & Foundation of HCLS is holding a floral fundraiser this spring to support it! As Friends members, we are giving you advance notice of this fundraiser which will be available to the general public starting April 4 - the beginning of National Library Week.
We invite you to make a donation and enjoy your thank-you gift(s):
A portion of your donation goes directly to HCLS to support this fantastic project that will creatively bring education, support, and activities to young minds outside the library’s buildings – it’s a Win, Win, Win!
We are kicking off National Library Week with this great fundraiser, and we ask for your support to raise money for the library's new mobile van, On the Road to Kindergarten!
Please make your donation now through April 28. Pick up will be on May 6, between 3-7 pm at the Miller Branch, 9421 Frederick Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042.
(February 15, 2021) – The Friends & Foundation of Howard County Library System announces the appointment of Allen Cosentino and Heather Shafer to the Friends Board of Directors.
Allen is a lifelong Howard County resident and dedicated educator. Currently the Principal of Oakland Mills Middle School, he is committed to ensuring all children regardless of gender, race, ability or social class have the opportunity to learn, grow and succeed and he is working to develop students who possess a love of learning for the purpose-building skills for a productive and purposeful life. "It is an honor to serve the Howard County community through the excellent work of the Friends & Foundation of HCLS" said Allen.
Heather recently started working towards a MS in Counseling after spending ten years as an Analyst in the healthcare field and recently took a position in HCPSS as the Secretary of Student Services. She has been in the community for seven years after relocating from Connecticut and has spent many hours volunteering with the PTA, NAACP, and various community drives. “I’m ecstatic and honored to join the board of Friends & Foundation of HCLS to help support my community that I live and work in!" said Heather.
The Friends & Foundation of HCLS is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit that raises funds and recruits friends to support the Howard County Library System in its mission to deliver high quality education for all ages. The Friends & Foundation is overseen by its Board of Directors, supported by businesses and organizations, and funded by more than 2,000 individual donors.
“We are thrilled to welcome Allen and Heather to the Friends & Foundation of HCLS Board of Directors and look forward to moving the Friends & Foundation forward under their leadership” said Board Chair Mickey Gomez.
2021 Friends & Foundation Board of Directors:
The Friends & Foundation of HCLS is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit that raises funds and recruits friends to support the Howard County Library System in its mission to deliver high quality education for all ages. friendshcls.org