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Westfield Athenaeum prepping for toy and book drive

(Left to right) Nancy Stefanik, Heidi Cassell, Patti Brose, and Claire Rogers, Board Members of the Friends of the Westfield Athenaeum, stand in front of early donations for this years Toy and Book Drive. (Photo by Peter Currier)

WESTFIELD- The Friends of the Westfield Athenaeum will begin accepting donations for their 5th annual Toy and Book Drive beginning October 20th.

The Friends will accept donations of any gently used and very clean toys, books, sporting goods, games, CD’s or DVD’s. All donations can be brought to the Westfield Athenaeum between October 20th and November 3rd during normal business hours.

Following the donation drive, The Friends will hold their Toy and Book sale. They will sell the donations in the Athenaeum’s Lang Auditorium from November 8th to November 10th and all funds raised will benefit the Westfield Athenaeum and its programs.

Members of The Friends group along with local school teachers in town will have the opportunity to purchase items from the sale one day early on November 7th.

“The Friends supports programs at the library,” says Patti Brose, Head of Youth Services at the library. “It could be performers that come to the children’s department, or the summer and winter reading clubs. They support us in a lot of different ways.”

There will be no curbside pickup for larger donations this year as there was in previous years.

“We are going to set up a big box by the front desk [of the library] and they can put the donations in there,” says Heidi Cassell, Co-chair of the book sale for The Friends.

The Friends of the Westfield Athenaeum have been active since 1996. “Their main purpose is to do fundraising to help the library fund programs for the public,” says Brose, “a lot of people don’t know that the Westfield library is not a city public library.”

The Friends have averaged $8,000 per year in funds raised for the Westfield Athenaeum.

The library is not a city department, so the funds come from endowments from the state, a small portion from the city, and donations such as those from the Toy and Book drive.

During Westfield’s annual Pumpkinfest, the Friends held a jewelry sale consisting of pieces of jewelry that had been donated.

“For one day during our toy sale, we will be doing another jewelry sale as well,” says Claire Rogers, Co-Chair of the book sale, ”We had so many donations that we have a lot left after Pumpkinfest.”

The second jewelry sale will take place on Friday, November 9th during the Toy and Book drive.

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