In communities across Whitman County, residents step forward each and every day to improve their libraries.

On Thanksgiving Day, the Turkey Leg Fun Run in Palouse raised nearly $1,200, allowing the library to purchase new books for youth of all ages. This event wouldn't be possible without the donations and support from McLeod's Palouse Market, the Palouse Federated Church, The Roy Chatters Museum and Paula Echanove.

Another group in Palouse that takes great care of their library is The Xenodican Club. Formed 100 years ago, this women's group decided to start the town's library. They went door to door collecting books and in 1920, a location was found. During the 98 years that have passed, the Xenodican's support of their library has never wavered. The club holds annual cleaning events, provides treats for children's programs and raises funds for major improvements - most recently, new carpet.

Both the Xenodican Club and several Turkey Leg sponsors have been among the 140 groups and individuals we've honored as Whitman County Library supporters of the month. In its 13th year, the "Supporter" award is our way of recognizing the people who positively impact the libraries and the lives of those within their community.

Most recent honorees include Carter Foods and its operator, Judy Carter. The library and food store sit side-by-side in the historic LaCrosse Market. Whether providing treats for Summer Reading participants or racing over to help the librarian on busy program days, Judy Carter goes the extra mile in service to her library and community.

The family and friends of Don and Bettie Steiger were also honored for their generous support of the "Bettie Steiger Community Enrichment Center." Don founded "The Center" in memory of his wife, Bettie, while their children, Craig and Ann, along with their spouses, family and friends have continued to make Don's vision of an educational, cultural and entrepreneurial hub a reality.

The Colfax Branch of US Bank and the U.S. Bank Foundation have played an important role in library renovation projects, while local branch manager Shanna Larson provides financial education classes to the community. Most recently, the US Bank Foundation announced a $1,500 grant to improve financial literacy for residents of all ages using the Endicott and St. John libraries.

As mayor, Andrea Harp, of Malden, encouraged library service within her community, bringing the idea before the council and the town's voters. Once approved, Andrea even helped out with the very first library card sign up day. Today, Andrea continues to assist by donating craft items and helping with programs in the library branch that she helped develop.

Finally, I'd like to invite each and every one of you the dedication of The Libey Gallery at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 in The Center at Colfax Library. During that ceremony, we will recognize Superior Court Judge Gary Libey and his wife, Trudy, for their generous donation of $104,000, which allowed Whitman County Library to replace a failing roof at The Center, complete the Center's Technology Lab and put a little money in the bank for future needs and maintenance.

I am so thankful to these special library supporters, the more than 600 members of Friends of the Whitman County Library and finally, to each and every one of you who give of yourselves for your library or other important services within your community.


Kristie Kirkpatrick is the director of the Whitman County Library.

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