The Gerald R. Sherratt Library at Southern Utah University is a lot more than just shelves of books for the 8,000 plus students on campus. SUU’s Library holds family history records, newspaper clippings, published works, Paiute artifacts, pioneer journal entries and beautiful paintings. But these treasures aren’t just for students; each is available to the public through the Friends of the Library.
With a mission to advance services and collections within the Library, the Friends continually strive to develop and promote interest in the Library, constantly expanding financial capabilities.
“The community at large forgets that SUU’s library is a highly important facility,” stated Gerald R. Sherratt, former SUU president and the Library’s namesake. “The Library holds hundreds of years of family history records, books on every genre and record of this community and we need to support it so it can continue to grow.”
Established in May 2009, the Friends have since raised $50,000 that has gone into digitizing the Iron County Record, which the group only needs to raise funds to finalize the last 10 years of the novel local newspaper that began in 1890.
Funds have also been raised to create additional study rooms in the Library and to outfit each of the study rooms with smart televisions and computers.
But these efforts are just a starting point for the Friends. John Eye, dean of the Library and founder of this program, declared that the Friends will continue to increase its reach past campus to create an atmosphere and a collection that is attractive to every University student and community member.
He said, “This entity reaches out to the community and shows that Library is needed and has a place in this town. 20 years ago people knew why they libraries were needed, but now with the Internet most people don’t know why libraries are important. Having the Friends of the Library program going into businesses and organizations sharing why it’s important and beneficial is going to keep this Library thriving.”
In the Friends of the Library Annual Gala on November 2, the organization hosted local community business to show them the needs of having the Library and why donating to the Friends of the Library is necessary and sees more than 150 patrons.
Phil Roché, assistant professor of library media, said that becoming a Friend of the Library is crucial to maintaining the prosperous Library.
“With recent budget cuts some projects had to be dropped but with the help of the Friends, we were able to focus on increasing study rooms, purchasing updated technology and accessing additional online databases that benefit everyone from students, to faculty and community members, and still increase the number of books on the shelves.”
Roché stated that anyone is welcome to join for a mere $35 a year, just $10 more than the annual charge community members are given for utilizing Library products, and gives additional access databases, special events and raise funds that will be use advantageously.
To learn more about how you can become a Friend of the Library, visit www.li.suu.edu/page/friends-otl-become-a-friend.