Carl Laundrie was once the face of the News-Journal in Flagler, as the News-Journal’s bureau chief. He was then the face of county government, as its chief spokesman and image-maker, often polishing the administration’s rougher edges. Barely into retirement, he then co-chaired the county’s bi-centennial committee in the lead-up to that year-long celebration in 2017 (with Sisco Deen). And now, almost cavalry-like, he’s taking over the leadership of the Friends of the Library, saving the organization from near-oblivion.
The Friends of the Library, an independent, non-profit support group for the Flagler County Library, whose members could be seen periodically at community or government meetings in their characteristic deep-green shirts, nearly met an untimely end at the beginning of this year.
Following Sandra Rose Friedman in 2004, Terry Jones served 14 years as president of the Friends, taking a very active role in organizing and hosting cultural programs, lectures and recitals at the library, preparing the library’s displays, working at the reference desk, and helping to organize the annual lineup of Flagler Reads Together events with Mary Ann Clark. Jones had also kept up the Friends’ website until county government took it over and reduced it to a few shadows (even though, as an independent non-profit, the Friends could have steered clear of the county’s web maw).
Jones died last September. She was 69. Terry’s husband Ken, who’d been the Friends’ treasurer, died a month later. He was 67. The board of directors was at a loss.
Long time fellow board members who would normally step in to fill the gaps were also experiencing health issues and could not take over the ambitious standard set by the Jones. “Without a board the Friends would be unable to operate and in effect cease to exist,” Library Director Holly Abanese said.
“Fortunately, a nominating committee came up with a group of talented people who were willing to take on the task of administrating the Friends,” Albanese said. “At a general meeting of the Friends on Saturday (Jan. 19), with one nomination from the floor, a new board of directors was elected and the Friends will continue.”
The new board of directors is meeting and will be drafting a new set of bylaws for membership review and approval to ensure that leadership of the organization will be viable into the future and that it will reflect the direction of the membership of the Friends, a Friends’ release stated this week.
Laundrie was elected president, Peggy Mattingly vice president, Mark Breidenstein treasurer, and Ron Pokigo will continue to serve as assistant treasurer. Ann Breidenstein is the group’s secretary, Keith Mattingly its technical director, and Dan Malueg will serve as government liaison. (Malueg volunteered and was nominated from the floor at the meeting. Ann Breidenstein is a non-voting member of the board to avoid any perceived conflicts since her husband serves as treasurer.)
Flagler County funds the library and its staff but the Friends, which has a membership of more than 600, provide funds for most of the programs for children and adults at the library in addition to an army of volunteers.
“We could not provide many of the services and programs that we do without the assistance of the volunteers and funds for the programs,” Albanese said in the release.
The Friends organization was formed in 1979. Through the years it’s raised funds through donations, book sales, and other activities. It has been recognized as one of the most active library organizations in the state. Had the organization not been able to elect a board of directors, the money raised by the work of many individuals in the past 40 years would have been turned over to the county.
The Friends’ annual Valentines Day program featuring Linda Cole earlier this week was a special program to honor Terry and Ken Jones’s contribution to the Friends of the Library.
“The good news for 2019 and the future of the Friends of the Library,” Laundrie said, “is that most of the programs that members of the Friends has come to anticipate and love, will continue.”
“The good work of the Friends in supporting the library will also continue. The membership of the Friends will also have a voice in the programs and activities the organization supports,” Laundrie said.
To join the Friends of the Library pick up a membership application at the library in Palm Coast or the branch library in Bunnell, or download the form below and mail it in to 2500 Palm Coast Pkwy NW, Palm Coast.
Friends of the Library membership form:
I’m glad a new Friends of the Library has been established and will continue with the good work they do for the library, They have done much to coordinate all the wonderful programs for kids and adults and have made our library a great place to be. Now the money stays with the Library and not turned over to the county, who really didn’t give the library much priority at all. I wish the Friends of the Library well.
Pete Celestino says
Carl is the right man for the job. Wish him the best.