In Lower Mills, library friends plan June 7 'extravanganza'

The Friends of the Lower Mills Branch Library hope to change things up at this year's annual fundraiser on Saturday, June 7 by allowing neighbors to get their antiques appraised and giving local merchants and organizations a chance to introduce themselves to the community.

This year's Library Extravaganza has expanded to include a silent auction, face painting and crafts for the kids, as well as blood pressure and sugar screenings by Carney Hospital nurses.

"When you have a book and bake sale, it's a very confined event," said Sheila O'Flaherty, president of the Friends of the Lower Mills Branch Library, who will be running this free event. "We're broadening the appeal to include more of the community," she said.

 They will still sell books, DVDs and CDs, as well as plants and baked goods at the event. In order to have an item appraised by the owners of Lower Mills' Streamline Antiques and the Dark Horse Antiques, the group asks that people make a $3 donation.

 "A hundred percent of the proceeds go to the Friends and pay for things like the Halloween party and the Christmas party," said O'Flaherty.

Funds raised through the group also complement the Lower Mills Branch Library's budget, helping to provide craft materials for children and food for various functions held throughout the year.

 "Anything they want to do over and above that they want money for, they approach the Friends," said Nicole Manny, the group's treasurer.

"The library is an integral part of our community--we want to stay active," said Branch Librarian, Margaret Phillibert. "Without the Friends of the Lower Mills Library we would not be able to put on as many programs as we do," she added.

Phillibert said this event will also be a chance to build bridges between local businesses and organizations and those who live in the community.

"By opening it up to our local merchants and non-profit organizations, they learn about services that they may not be aware of," said Phillibert.

 In the past, local businesses have contributed, O'Flaherty said, in different ways: Meetinghouse Bank donated a book drop last year, and Pat's Pizza, Spukies'n Pizza, and Common Ground help out with events like the Halloween and Christmas parties.

"We're lucky to be so well supported," she said.

 Manny said that in previous years they have raised up to $400, but this year they would like to raise a lot more.

"I'm hoping to do really well, much better than we did in the past," said Manny. This year's goal is $1,000.

 The group is still looking for merchants to participate in the event, whether by donating an item to the silent auction, sponsoring a museum pass that library-goers can use to go to places like the Franklin Park Zoo or the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum free of charge or funding the yearly Christmas or Halloween parties. They also encourage people to donate baked goods, books, DVDs, and CDs, or to volunteer their time at the event.

For those who attend the event each year, O'Flaherty sees it as "a chance to meet with friends, to meet with like-minded people, and to have fun."

The Library Extravaganza will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lower Mills Branch Library on Richmond Street, with antique appraisals from 10- 11 a.m. and blood pressure and blood sugar tests from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, email Nicole at nixesq@msn.com or call Sheila at 617-852-3677.