History and Mission

The Friends of the Chapel Hill Public Library grew out of a gathering of people who supported the establishment of a Library in the 1950s.  The group was founded formally shortly after the Library opened in 1958 in a little frame cottage on Franklin Street.  Our constitution and by-laws were ratified in May 1981, by which time the Library had expanded and moved to a new building at the corner of Franklin and Boundary streets.

Our purposes were (and continue to be):

  • maintain an association of people interested in books,
  • promote the full use of the Library (now the busiest public library in the state),
  • keep people informed concerning the Library’s aims, functions, and needs.

We have published a Newsletter from our earliest days.  Since 1968, from September through May, our Meet-the-Author Teas have provided local authors with an opportunity to discuss their recent works in a congenial atmosphere.  Our Book Sales which started in 1970 with a less than $5,000 a year now earn more $40,000 a year, which can be used for the purchase of new books for the Library.

Membership dues and donations have been used to support programming for children and adults and for a number of Library purchases including best-sellers for the Friends’ Bookshelf, computer equipment, an outdoor book return, a microfilm reader-printer, a map file, and Dial-a-Story technology and banners for the Lobby…  The Friends furnished the conference room when the Library opened in 1994 and provided start-up funds for the establishment of the Chapel Hill Public Library Foundation.  The children’s room and teen rooms in the expanded Library are also evidence of the Friends’ gifts to the Library.

We welcome your questions and comments. Feel free to send us an e-mail.