The Friends of the Manchester Public Library, run entirely by volunteers, is an active non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the Library’s collections and programs through membership, memorial gifts and book sales. Since their formation in 1960, the Friends have contributed furnishings and equipment, museum memberships, and many other services and resources.

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Please make checks payable to Friends of the Manchester Library; P. O. Box 652, Manchester, MA 01944 or bring your donation to the Library. All donations are tax deductible.

Officers 2023-2024

Sheila Linehan: President
Cheryl Shnider: Secretary
Chuck Furlong:  Treasurer
Betsy Daitch:  Assistant Treasurer

At Large Members 2022-2023

Patty Brennan Elizabeth Loomis  
Lynn Hall Marion Mariotti  
Susan H. Harrington Cindy Morton  
Kate Lawrence Jim O’Neill  
Amanda Lewis Nancy Rizzo  

Volunteer Opportunities

Book Sale: sorting books on occasion through year
Book Sale: selling on day of sale
Baking for Friends functions
Executive Board: a two year commitment

Ongoing Programs and Services Sponsored by the Friends

Annual Spring Meeting with Guest Speaker
Summer Book Sale
Ongoing Book Sale: cart located at library entrance
Museum Pass program and Online Reservation Service
Library Programs and Refreshments
Microfilming the Cricket
Library Holiday Decorations and Staff Gifts

[picture credit: M. O’Connor]

Reading Room Fireplace 2017

Several years ago the town/library made the decision to change the heating system in the library building from oil to natural gas.  This opened up the possibility to put a gas insert in the fireplace and create a warm, cozy space in the reading room. The Trustees approached the Friends of the Library to fund the installation of the fireplace and FOL was happy to approve the project and bring it to fruition. It took a couple of years to complete, but now patrons, volunteers, and staff are delighted to have this addition that all can enjoy for years to come.

L to R: Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Library staff, Rachael Meneades, Trustee emeritus, Alison Anholt-White,
staff members, Lori Dumont, Kate Strong, Sara Collins, and the crew of Cape Ann Sign.
The Friends of the Manchester Public Library have generously sponsored this beautiful plaque.

Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Library Plaque

Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Library staff, Trustee emeritus, Alison Anholt-White, and the crew of Cape Ann Sign. The Friends of the Manchester Public Library have generously sponsored this beautiful plaque.

Clock Restoration Fund Drive

The Friends of the Library raised $10,000.00 in 2001 to restore the original, Hotchkiss designed clock. The clock was custom made by the Seth Thomas Clock Company of Connecticut. The clock is powered by hand-wound weights and relies on electricity only for illumination of its face. The restoration was completed by the firm of Mitchell and Bosworth in Concord, New Hampshire.

Library circulation desk

New Circulation Hall 2006

The Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Library has remodeled its Circulation Hall thanks to the generous donation of the late Mary Deland de Beaumont, a resident of Manchester who had been a long-time Library volunteer. A design committee representing the Library Trustees, the Friends of the Library and the Library Director helped the architect firm of Adams & Smith (Swampscott, MA) plan the renovation.

The Library was designed by Charles F. McKim in 1886 and the circulation hall was originally a Civil War Memorial. Frank Adams and Richard Smith created a modern circulation hall which emphasizes the historic elements of the room, eight marble plaques, Tiffany stained glass window and large Sevres vase. Tucker Library Interiors of Manchester, NH, built the custom desk and bookshelves. The countertop is Vermont mottled purple slate, which blends well with the brick interior of the room. This project is the first major change to the Library’s interior since the Children’s Room was added in 1965.

History of the Friends of the Library

The Friends were formed in 1960, led by Frances Ervin.

This is about the same time the Library took possession of the entire building. The Friends’ first purchase was 24 oak chairs for the reference room in 1961. By 1965 the Friends raised $25,000 to add on the children’s room, the only addition to the McKim building to date.  The Children’s Room was dedicated to Frances Quincy Ervin.

In 1987, the Library’s centennial anniversary, the Friends helped the Library enter the digital age by raising another $25,000 for Manchester to join the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium, purchase computers, library cards and bar codes, they even gave $7,000 in payroll when the Library ran short, and more labor  was needed to complete the conversion to digital records.

The next major contribution by the Friends was in 2001 to save our tower clock. The Friends raised $10,000 to restore the original, Hotchkiss designed clock. The clock was originally custom made by the Seth Thomas Clock Company of Connecticut. It is powered by hand-wound weights and uses electricity only for illumination of its face. Thanks to the Friends quick response, the historic clock still keeps time.

In 2006 the Friends generously spent $55,000 to renovate the Circulation Hall. The original 1960’s era furnishings were made for typewriters, card files, and a hand stamp for due dates. The 21st Century called for computers, online catalogs, and more space for interlibrary loan materials.

In 2011, the Friends spearheaded the young adult librarian fundraiser by offering a $5,000 matching grant. Our goal was met and the Library was able to fund the YA librarian one more year. Happily town meeting passed the library budget for FY13, which includes putting the YA librarian on the town payroll.

When the children’s room needed updating in 2012, the Friends donated $20,000 to the capital campaign.

These are some of the highlights of what the Friends have done for the Library. It does not even touch the year round support the Friends organization provides.