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Susan Greer speaking at the recent Harris County Friends of the Library annual meeting

In honor of National Friends of the Library Week, HCPL blogger, Amanda P. sat down for a brief interview with Susan Greer, longtime president of Harris County Friends of the Library (HCFOL)

Volunteering and library advocacy is a way of life for Susan Greer, President of the Harris County Public Library Friends of the Library (HCFOL), and member of the Barbara Bush Branch Friends of the Library (FOL). As an advocate for libraries and library staff, Susan’s entire career has centered around libraries and education.  

Portrait photo of Susan Greer, President of HCFOL
Susan Greer, a tireless advocate for public libraries and longtime president of Harris County Friends of the Library

Susan has worked in all types of libraries from shelver to head librarian. She started in an academic library in Florida, then as a school librarian in Florida and Texas, and

finally a public library worker in Harris County, TX. After retiring, Susan joined the Barbara Bush FOL, keeping track of the building fundraiser donor wall and writing thank you notes to each donor. She has volunteered for the FOL in all capacities (excluding treasurer), and was asked to run for the HCFOL presidency.  

Q: What does being the HCFOL president mean to you? 

Susan Greer: I do it because I love it! To be in charge of a volunteer organization like the FOL, you have to be an advocate for libraries, not a figurehead. You have to be an active leader, have a vision, work well with people, know how to delegate, and utilize all available PR platforms and opportunities. All positions are important for advocacy and anyone can be a library advocate. 

Q: What is the goal of HCFOL? 

Pull quote graphic: Volunteering just brings such joy! "You never know how you’re going to affect someone, but you know that you will."--Susan GreerSusan Greer: The Harris County Friends is meant to be an umbrella organization for branch FOLs. We enhance county funding for branch supplies and programs. We provide mini-grants to buy books and materials, fund literacy programs, like Book Buddies, Tournament of Books, LENA Start, Summer Reading supplies and prizes, and senior computer classes with AARP. Every year we offer staff scholarships for those in library school to help pay for tuition, academic materials, etc. This year we also started FOL talks, meetings with branch FOLs for brainstorming, feedback, networking, and general communication. Delegation and communication are made easier by having an assigned Friends liaison in Harris County Administration.  

Interior of the Friends of the La Porte Library Book Store
Many branch Friends groups host periodic book sales or run in-library bookstores that turn your donations of gently used books, magazines, and DVDs into support for neighborhood library programs and much more.

Q: What volunteer opportunities does FOL offer? 

Susan Greer: Bookfairs, bookstores, holiday celebrations and parties, staff appreciation parties and gifts, and fundraisers. We also do general outreach, so information booths out in the community at places like bookstores, parks, and schools. Go to the HCFOL website and fill out the online volunteer form, which will go to the FOL volunteer coordinator. We have a few opportunities coming up soon: in December we’ll continue the “Un-decorate” tree fundraiser for new board books at the Barbara Bush Branch (in-branch and online), and in February we’ll throw a membership drive Valentine’s party, also at Barbara Bush. 

Susan ended with this very poignant and passionate statement: “Volunteering just brings such joy! You never know how you’re going to affect someone, but you know that you will; that’s my payment.” 

Learn more about Harris County Friends of the Library and HCPL branch friends groups at www.hcfol.org and stay up-to-date on the Friends by following on Facebook: @hcfol.org

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