The Friends of the Library in Milford had a successful year in 2016 and has a number of programs planned for 2017.

“The Friends of the Library had a great year,” said President Anne Bolin in presenting a summary of the volunteer group's activities and achievements for 2016. “We’ve created some new programs while improving and expanding upon our successful ones from the past.”

Party in the Stacks!, a gala event and fund-raiser, was attended by more than 150 partiers, more than half wearing literary-themed costumes. Guests enjoyed dancing, great food and a silent auction, Bolin said.

With City of Milford’s Permanent Art Collection Committee and the Milford Arts Council, the Friends celebrated the hanging and unveiling of We Shall Pass This Way But Once, the newly restored Works Progress Administration (WPA) mural, which now hangs in the Milford Library.

Audience size has grown for both the adult and children’s programs – with 5,800 adults and 16,600 children participating this year.

Also, the group raised program funds through book sales in the library, at the Oyster Festival and the Holiday Book Sale, as well as from donations, membership funds and special fundraisers.

The Friends established two scholarships, which were awarded to a Jonathan Law and a Foran senior, and presented the Friends’ Book Award to five juniors, one from each of the high schools in Milford.

The group provided funding to “adopt” a cheetah to celebrate the middle and high school students reaching their summer reading goals.

The Friends also continued offering books at community locations with three Little Libraries – at the Y, Gulf Beach and Walnut Beach – and the “Books for Commuters” Library at the Milford Train Station.

There were special Friday with Friends informal get-togethers, sometimes with speakers and including two trips to visit newly renovated buildings at Yale: the Center for British Art and the Beinecke Library.

The Friends carried on the “Welcome to Milford” program, in collaboration with Milford organizations, creating packets to introduce newcomers to the city.

The Friends increased the number and involvement of volunteers, logging well over 4,000 hours, and received a 2016 Outstanding Friends Group Award from the Friends of Connecticut Libraries.

“We are really excited about our plans for 2017,” Bolin said. “In January, we will launch a special year-long membership campaign with the motto: The Friends of the Milford Library, because a great city deserves a great library.”

New members are welcome.