Organization would like to expand library

By Jeff Smith


One group of people in Hill City is determined to help the library with whatever it needs. They meet to discuss books and help sustain people’s passion for reading too.

The Friends of the Library meet once a month but continuously help support programming, furnishings and equipment needs at Hill City Public Library.

The Friends of the Library have been around for almost 40 years.

“The Friends  view the library as an anchor to our community and are interested in improving and expanding the library for increased use by all ages,” said president of the Friends of the Library, Bonnie Guerre.

They received their Certificate of Incorporation Non-Profit from the State of South Dakota on June 18, 1981.  As stated in the Articles of Incorporation, the purpose of the Friends organization is to maintain an association of persons interested in the library community. 

The Hill City Public Library operates under the guidance of the Library Board of Trustees and the City of Hill City. The Friends of the Hill City Library, Inc. supports and promotes activities and programming that the library offers. The Friends of the Library group works on providing items for whatever the library asks for.

A new effort has bolstered what the Friends of the Library does. They partnered with the Black Hills Area Community Foundation to establish the “Friends of the Hill City Library Fund” that will facilitate fundraising efforts for expansion of the Hill City Public Library. The stretch-goal is to raise enough money to assist with a new building or expand the library space.

They will also continue to build up funds for equipment and furnishings for a new or expanded space.

The current library building was purchased from the school district. It was the administrative building. The library used to be located in the high school building but problems arose due to safety concerns. The library board searched for other options and there weren’t any. A contract was ended in between the city and school district in order for the current building to be used as a library.

The community has been able to utilize a smaller building but the Friends of the Library are hoping to change that.

“We need a bigger library,” said Friends of the Library treasurer Colleen Lewis.

The building fund was started with proceeds from Georgia Gerken. Currently, most of the funds for the Friends of the Library come from book sales and donations. They have two book sales throughout the year. One in June and one in September.

The books are kept at the garage behind the library.

“It’s overflowing with books,” Lewis said.

The librarians have a chance to look over the books before they are sold to see if they will be a good addition to the library’s collection.

Lewis said they are pretty much set on what equipment the library has right now but there is the summer reading program coming up which will require additional funds to be used.

The Friends of the Library members pay dues too. Annual membership is $10 per person or $15 for a couple.

Monthly Friends of the Library meetings are held at the Super 8 motel and are open to the community.

Lewis said she appreciates the diversity of the programming in the monthly meetings.

There have been local authors there as well as prominent figures in the community.

A lot of it is a social time too. Lewis said there are people there that might not go to other places.

The membership continues to have a common concern to act as an educational,  informational and fundraising  organization for library activities and programs.

Attendance at the Friends of the Library monthly meetings might depend on the featured program for the month. There is usually 18-25 men and women at the meetings.

The next meeting is on April 11 at 10:15 a.m. in the the Super 8 third floor conference room.  The program speaker will be Chris VanNess, Executive Director of the Black Hills Film Festival.

Chris will be presenting information regarding the 9th Annual Black Hills Film Festival.  There will be 32 films shown over the course of five days starting on Wednesday, April 25 at various locations.  The 2018 theme is Big Vistas, Big Stories and will kick off at the Elks Theatre in Rapid City with the showing of the film “Tater Tot & Patton”.  A short business meeting will follow the presentation.

Also, on April 10, there will be coffee and cake available at the library from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Library Appreciation Week.

Anyone can contribute to the Friend’s Fund by writing a check directly to the BHACF/Friends of the Hill City Library Fund or through the BHACF website,  Click on “donate” and scroll to “Hill City Friends of the Library”.  The Foundation will also work with donors that would like to transfer appreciated assets, including stocks, for a maximum tax benefit. Those who want to assist with this can call 605-718-0112.