October 2011 - Friends honored by the NAACP
During the Sarasota Chapter of the NAACP's 26th annual Freedom Awards Banquet, Friends member Lovette W. Harper was honored with the Lifetime Achievement award, and the Education award went to the Friends of the North Sarasota Library. More about these honors from the banquet program is reproduced below:
Lifetime Achievement Award
Lovette W. Harper has had a long time connection with the NAACP, beginning when she was an undergraduate student delegate to the NAACP Youth Council convention at Atlanta University during the 1940s. She became a life member in 1976 and completed her golden life Membership in 1998.
It has been rewarding for Mrs. Harper to continue a life's commitment of service to the Sarasota community upon retirement, just as she had done in Nassau and Westchester Counties, in New York for many years. Shortly after arriving in Sarasota, she began tutoring and assisting at Sarasota County Educational Assistance Program, helping to develop programs and activities for school children, college students and adults at the Family Heritage House Museum. She partnered with young women from the Newtown community for nearly five years, helping them to successfully become homeowners with Habitat for Humanity, one of her cherished achievements.
During all of her 14 years in Sarasota, Mrs. Harper has lectured, conducted workshops and presented exhibitions and programs on African American arts and culture and African American history. For more than six years, Mrs. Harper has been a member of the Friends of North Sarasota Public Library where she has helped develop and participate in programs for children and adults. She has worked there tirelessly to establish within the library a cultural resource center which can serve all of Sarasota as a facility for reference, research and a repository of books, art and various other materials on the global black experience.
The Friends of the North Sarasota Public Library is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization which was formed to promote the establishment of a library in the Newtown community. Libraries were segregated in Sarasota as they were in many parts of the country and Black students, scholars and researchers were not allowed to enter or take out books from the public libraries even though their tax dollars went to support them. It was especially meaningful therefore that the library be situated in Newtown.
As with the other seven libraries in the Sarasota County system, the Friends group is a source of support, both financial and physical, advocacy and services. Its mission is to promote pride and opportunity, reflect the diverse history and multi-cultural interests of the community, recruit library patrons, raise funds and advocate for the library.
The organization has 18 board members reflecting the increasingly diverse population of Sarasota who have skills and experiences that enhance its functioning. Their activities include operating the used bookstore, proceeds from which support library programs; supporting children's programs such as the Bike Rodeo, Fia Academy Character Education Program, Born to Read and Kwanzaa; hosting author events and book signings, hosting volunteer recognition events; publishing a newsletter and fundraising, including raising funds through membership dues.
A special project and focus of the Friends is the establishment of a Cultural Resource Center which will house a special collection of books, artifacts, media and photographs documenting the Global Black Experience. The mission and vision of the Center is to gather, display and disseminate a special collection of resource and reference materials on the global experience. The Cultural Resource Center will be available for use by students, scholars, historians, researchers and other interested individuals in the larger community.