Submitted by countylibrary on

We’ve had a blast celebrating our centennial and looking back at everything we’ve accomplished, but we can’t take all the credit. For 100 years, BCLS has had the support of an endless stream of dedicated volunteers eager to lend a hand. When we first opened our doors in 1921, volunteers actually helped staff the library stations set up in communities to distribute books to residents throughout Burlington County. Operating out of schools, churches and other locations, even their own homes, these unpaid workers kept many of the stations open and helped manage the flow of book requests to the county library in Mount Holly.

A century later, we’re lucky to have the support of our enthusiastic volunteers, active Friends of the Library groups, the BCLS Foundation and the Burlington County Library Commission.

Library Volunteers

Our volunteers have helped do so much around our library system in nearly every department. From weaving through the stacks to return borrowed library books to our shelves, to preparing children’s crafts, and so much more. Our library volunteers don't just help us, they give back to our customers too. Over the years, enthusiastic teen volunteers have helped make our Summer Reading Program a success and former teachers have even tutored students struggling with their studies.

Friends of the Library and Library Associations

Aptly named, our Friends of the Library and Association groups are just that! The dedicated members of these nonprofit organizations realize the value of our libraries and their importance to our communities. Great library advocates, they’re always willing to roll up their sleeves to fundraise and pitch in when needed. We’re fortunate to have active Friends groups working on our behalf at the Burlington County Library and the Cinnaminson, Evesham, Pemberton and Riverton branches. The Riverton library is also lucky to have its own Library Association, as are the Bordentown and Pinelands branches. These dedicated groups collect membership dues and frequently host book sales and other fundraising events to raise money which often to to support our wonderful live performances, such as concerts, magic shows, special Summer Reading programs and more.

BCLS Foundation

The BCLS Foundation is our 501(c)3 non-profit organization and was established in 2015. It's mission “is to seek private financial support to shape libraries as a fundamental community resource for now and for future generations.” While the Friends groups raise funds for each local branch, the foundation works in tandem with them to support the full library system.

Since its founding, the BCLS Foundation has hosted holiday fundraising concerts featuring the Philly POPS, secured grant money for literacy programs and, more recently, promoted a “Technology for All” initiative that involved collecting old, working laptops to help people stay connected during the pandemic. Funds raised by the foundation have been used to buy books and computers to challenge young minds in a kid-friendly, safe learning environment, Chromebooks and mobile hotspots that library customers can borrow, and more.

Burlington County Library Commission

The five-member Burlington County Library Commission meets each month to discuss library affairs and provide oversight. Appointed by the Board of County Commissioners, the members of the library commission are also volunteers.

And here’s a fun fact: The library commission is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year too. It was created to administer county library affairs soon after voters overwhelmingly approved the new county library a century ago. The commissioners wasted no time getting started, either. They hired Adeline Jessup Pratt, a graduate of the Columbia University School of Library Science, to serve as our first county librarian.