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Friends group gives Jefferson Hills Public Library financial lift

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Gil Smith remembers a time when the Jefferson Hills Public Library operated out of a basement, before parties and events that raised thousands of dollars and brought in patrons from all around the South Hills, he said.

“You can't imagine the Jefferson Hills library 25 years ago,” said Smith, president of the Friends of the Jefferson Hills Library.

The Friends of the Jefferson Hills Library raised $15,000 during 2012, a record high for the group. Funds raised came mostly from three activities — the spring used book and boutique sale, the fall donation drive and a holiday cookie sale — all which will occur again in 2013.

“I'm a book nut. I think the library is an important part of our community,” Smith said. “We look at what works and feature it.”

The Friends of the Jefferson Hills Library, a nonprofit, was established in 1997 to support the library by raising funds and providing volunteers for activities. Funding raised by the Friends group go toward purchasing non-budgeted materials for the library such as books or e-readers, Smith said.

The group isn't setting goals for 2013, but the hope is to raise just as much for the library this year, said Valerie Bailey, treasurer of the Friends of the Jefferson Hills Library.

Last year's used book sale — which included a preview cocktail party, used and antique book sale, raffles and boutique items — brought in around $7,000, Bailey said.

“That's our best book sale. Ever,” Bailey said.

The 16th annual used book sale and the second boutique salon will begin on April 11 with a preview party from 7 to 9 p.m. and continues April 12-14.

The Friends group also brought in between $3,000 and $4,000 last year through the fall donation drive, Bailey said. Group members sent out 450 letters to previous library donors and received about 100 responses.

Lastly, the Friends group held its second holiday cookie sale in December, bringing in around $1,000, Bailey said. About 15 bakers made an average of seven dozen cookies.

The desserts sold out within 45 minutes despite Bailey making about 70 dozen nut roll cookies herself, she said.

Still, Smith said this year's cookie sale most likely will be bigger.

“We need a lot more cookies,” Smith said.

For more information about the library or the Friends of the Jefferson Hills Library, go to

Laura Van Wert is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5814 or at

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