Michelle Fishman has been an active patron of the Henry Carter Hull Library for about six years; this spring she was made president of the all-volunteer The Friends of the Henry Carter Hull Library.
"I have a lot of passion for this place," Michelle says of the Henry Carter Hull Library.
The Friends of the Henry Carter Hull Library is a fundraising group that was formed in 1962 to assist in funding the library's programs and community services. Michelle, who has lived in Clinton since 2003, first became an active patron of the library after attending a program for new mothers when her oldest daughter Bella was born six years ago.
"Friends of the Library is a [volunteer] group of people within town that make donations to fund specific things like programming and special needs things for the library that the budget cannot support," Michelle says.
According to Michelle, there are around 110 members who pay dues at certain times of the year to help fund these services. Members also help out by donating to the book sales or providing baked goods for programs. She says a lot of the funds go towards the children's programming and the summer programs, all of which are free to the public.
This year summer programs for grades 1 through 6 include Meet Author David A. Kelly, Cupcake Decorating-Magical Sea Creatures, Lego Thursday, and more. Adult programs are also available. The next event will be a cookbook author event on Thursday, June 29 at 6:30 p.m. Author Emily Brooks will come and share the latest recipes from her new cookbook Connecticut Farmer & Feast.
"The children's library does a really wonderful job of providing programming in the summer time and vacations for children," says Michelle.
Her daughters, who are six and four, have participated in the library programs since they were infants.
Other fundraisers for the library are the book sales that take place whenever the library is open. Books for sale can be found in the corner by the meeting room in the library entryway. There is also another sale in the children's room.
"There's stuff from old library books [to items] donated by people, patrons, and people in the town of Clinton," Michelle says.
Books are typically sold for 50 cents a piece.
Friends of the Library recently held a spring spirits wine-, Scotch-, and beer-tasting fundraiser. Another tasting is scheduled for the fall and the group is currently researching affordable bus trip ideas.
"In the past we've had what we call the Library Ball or Library Gala that we've had in the fall; usually it's around Labor Day every year," Michelle says. "Unfortunately, due to the economic times, a lot of people aren't able to purchase tickets."
Aside from being a stay at home mom and member of the Friends of the Library, Michelle also has a passion for gardening, which she writes about in her blog Fun And Flora.
She is the owner of her own graphic design business, Chelle Designs, LLC, and is also a member of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce. However, Michelle says that much of her time is devoted to helping the library, which has recently faced $100,000 in budget cuts after the town budget failed in the first referendum.
The Friends of the Library meets monthly and is scheduled to meet again on Monday, July 11 at 7 p.m. at the library.
"For those of you who have never...set foot in the library, you need to come here," says Michelle.