February Minutes

Friends of the Haverford Township Free Library
February 13, 2013

Present: Janae Alberts, Nicole Bruno, Katrine Fantini, Christine Faris, Angela Gasparro, Vickie Godomski, Roger Jack, Paul Kinney, Patti McFadden, Gerry Radack, Richard Romejko, Stephen Schweers, Nikki Senecal, Tim Woestman

Absent: none!

Guests: Anny Laepple

Meeting called to order 6:19.

The meeting began with a raucous discussion of membership. How might we retain members? The suggestion was made for discounting for two year members. Stephen Schweers argued vigorously that we need to attend summer events and not just pitch membership but “guilt” people into it. “This event might not be here without membership.”

If we raise prices or offer higher categories—like Radnor—what do we offer? Most people pay at $25-50 level. Would higher prices inhibit book sellers? Do we care?

People don’t understand the Friends and what membership does. We need to be able to offer something to Friends—lower prices to paid events. Other organizations have Friends groups—opera, symphony—why do people not get it? Is it because we are partially funded by government?

Membership drive to coincide with Library Week—April 14.

Up membership prices? Motion to raise membership by $5 did not carry. A group will meet to create a proposal of new membership levels. (Nicole Bruno, Katrine Fantini, Vickie Godomski)

We need to have clear Friends events. What do we want as perks for members? Friends exclusive events for $400-500 we could have the zoo or Franklin Institute or a musical program. Not only will Friends be allowed, but people will be encouraged to *Join Today!*

The Library turns 80 in May.

January reports—minutes, treasurer’s, and membership–were approved and accepted.

Garden Tour: Still seeking gardens. Have people contact Angela Gasparro. Event June 8.

Flower Fundraiser: We started raising $150 now we are up to $886. Becoming one of our more significant fundraisers. When we put it on Facebook, sales take off. Janae will email with details for the spring sale.

Director’s Report: Library consultant has been hired. We should give input about what we want to see. How the library should progress in the next 5, 10, 15 years.

Mobile Learning Lab: Anny answered questions about why we’d get Mac products over PC.

  • Technology consultants suggested Apple products
  • No IT professional on staff
  • Ease of updating
  • Ideal for students and seniors
  • Can provide more creative classes (photo editing, music, movies)
  • Software for photo editing, music, movies comes with computers

Community organizations (Adult School, et al) want to do computer classes but cannot do it at the schools. (Some sites are blocked at the schools.)

The library has raised $6500 for this project. Original proposals requested $25 for 19 computers. The library has created additional proposals for a smaller number of computers. $10K for 12 computers. Gave $10,000.

Business Sponsorship: Very excited by the response! $4300 raised so far. Anticipating $1500 from organizations that give at the end of the year. Goal of $8000, double last year’s gifts. Receiving a lot of $100 sponsors. Giving “swag bags.” Request that we make follow up phone calls.

Library Wish List

  • Two DVD racks $770 to house instructional DVDs
  • Sponsor lockers for staff $832.90
  • Sonic Wall network security upgrade $1080
  • Replace antennas for wirelesss (2 @ 1000)


Passed unanimously.

Publicity Committee Working on annual report. (Great job, Stephen!) Website changes, please check.

Will we be able to make it so that people can buy Garden Tour tickets on website? Look into it.

Next meeting: 3/13/13

Tenth Anniversary Book Sale

Come celebrate with the Friends! It’s our 10th anniversary of the book sale.

Friday, September 28th 6pm-9pm
Friends members (become one at the door!) preview sale. Hot dogs, cold drinks and snacks available

Saturday, September 29th 10am-5pm
Reasonably priced books from all genres: children’s, humor, history, fiction, scifi, mystery, romance, cookbooks, politics and more!

Sunday, September 30 1pm-5pm
Prices slashed! Fill a grocery-sized sack for $6. We’ll provide bags but you can bring your own.

The sale will continue on Haverford Township Day on Saturday, October 6 10am-5pm. Fill a bag for $6.

Spring Sprung!

Once again, The Friends of Haverford Township Free Library is sponsoring a plant sale to raise funds for the library. Click here to find flowers to beautify your neighborhood while supporting the library! Fifty percent of sales goes directly to the library. A flat rate of $5 sends flowers anywhere (in the U.S.).

Just one item you can choose in our plant sale.

Don’t forget to support our Garden Tour on June 16th.

The Friends have raised over $100,000 in the last 9 years for programs and equipment for the library.




Meet Mary Beth Tomeny

This year’s Outstanding Library Advocate award is being awarded to Mary Beth Tomeny and Natalie Tomasco for their service to the Friends of the HTFL as co-chairs for the Book Sale. We’re so delighted for them!

Mary Beth Tomeny has lived in Havertown for the past 15 years.  She’s originally from Syracuse, NY.  She’s a registered nurse, and when she first moved to the Philadelphia area she worked in a hospital, but she now works for a pharmaceutical company.  After working as a nurse for 20 years, it was a big change, but a good one.  “I like what I’m doing, but deep down I’ll always be a bedside nurse,” she says.

Mary Beth started volunteering at the library in 2002 and joined the Friends group the following year. She has worked on the book sale since the beginning.  In 2003, the Friends held the very first book sale with Mary Beth as one of the co-chairs.  “I really enjoyed helping to put it all together and I have been with it ever since. This is our ninth year!”

What moves you to volunteer for the book sale?
   It’s a great fundraiser for the library, people get some fantastic deals on every type of book you can imagine, and since 99% of the books are donated, it encourages people to recycle their books for the next book lover.

What book do you most cherish?  Anne of Green Gables

Name your top five:

Books: Anne of Green Gables,  Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter series, and The Kite Runner.

Movies: Stand By Me, Shawshank Redemption, ET, Gone with the Wind, Forrest Gump, A Christmas Story

What is your favorite food: anything chocolate goes very well with my diet coke

What is your favorite place: Alaska, Kenya, Grenada, Italy

What is your favorite sport: baseball, spectator only!

What is your favorite indoor activity: Curling up with a good book! What else?

Do you have any pets?  I just lost my very best buddy, Harry.  He was my beagle and was 14 years old. I miss him terribly, and had no idea how my routine really revolved around him!  He was a rescue, and I am a firm believer in supporting animal rescue groups and shelters.

What is your greatest fear?  Being accused of a crime and I have no way to prove that I’m innocent! My family would laugh at this as they know this is my greatest fear.

What is your greatest extravagance? Travel -I’m very fortunate to have been able to experience some really far out places!  If  its off the beaten track, I’m there.

Which is the best vacation you’ve been on?  Safari in Kenya.

Which talent would you most like to have?  To be invisible.

We hope you will join us at the Gala on October 22 to celebrate the work of these two dedicated women!

Meet Natalie Tomasco

This year’s Outstanding Library Advocate award is being awarded to Mary Beth Tomeny and Natalie Tomasco for their service to the Friends of the HTFL as co-chairs for the Book Sale. We’re so delighted for them! Allow us to introduce them.

Natalie D. Tomasco has lived in Havertown for over 40 years. She is married with one grown son. Natalie is retired from Villanova University’s Falvey Memorial Library after 26 years. “I used the HTFL for several years when my son was little and I was a stay-at-home mother. I didn’t use the library very often during my working years. I’m glad to be back.”

Natalie began volunteering with the Book Sale in 2005, and in 2009 she joined Mary Beth as co-chair. “I have always loved libraries and like spending time with all the books. Joining the Friends seemed a good way to support the library and contribute to my community.”

What is your most cherished book? Anne Lawrence of Old New York by Gladys Malvern (1947). I fell in love with the story when I was 12 years old and have read it many times. My grandmother, Marie, bought me a hardbound copy when I was 14. The book tells of life during the early 1800s when the city began to plan its growth and revolves around a family of seven siblings whose parents have died. The book includes family problems, annoying relatives, city people, farmers, sickness, strife, death, sorrow, laughter and love.

Favorite Writers: Georgette Heyer, Anna Quindlin, David Sedaris, J.D. Robb, Mary Higgins Clark

Who is your hero of fiction? Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. He is an incredibly wise and gentle father as well as an honorable human being. As a lawyer, he does what’s right even though most people in his society disagree with him.

Favorite Movies: West Side Story, South Pacific, Overboard, Four Feathers and all of Astaire and Rogers (I actually have a list of over 90 favorites.)

Happiness is …retirement. I now have the freedom to set my own schedule.

If you were stranded on a lonely island, what are the five things that you would want? encyclopedia, matches, classic books, hatchet, Johnny DeppFavorite Vacation: I have loved every one of my vacations—never had a bad one. I am totally awed by the natural beauty of the California coast and Hawaii.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Having a photograph of mine—graves in a local cemetery—published in a book entitled A Cruel Wind: Pandemic Flu in America, 1918-1920 by Dorothy A. Pettit, PhD and Janice Bailie, PhD.

Which historical figure do you most identify with? Amelia Earhart was the only famous and accomplished woman I knew about when I was a young girl. I admired her daring and adventurous life. I believe I got my love of flying and traveling from Ms. Earhart.

What’s your motto? “To thine own self be true” from Shakespeare’s Hamlet—really tough one to follow. It has been the main struggle of my life to come even close to living it.

Our interview with Mary Beth Tomeny will appear next week.

Garden Tour

No matter what your style of gardening may be, we’ve got a garden for you:

  • Living without a lawn. Visit a garden described as “intimacy among the flowers.”
  • What would you do if your garden backed up to a cement wall? You’ll find an answer on the tour!
  • Worried that you’re too free-spirited for gardening by the book? One gardener “gardens with her heart and eyes only.”
  • Rock out! What to do with all the rocks and boulders you dig up as you dig your garden.
  • With 14 different kinds of trees, you have to have a beautiful shade garden.
  • A large property with multiple plantings and a back yard designed for entertaining.
  • A grape pergola not to be missed!
  • Terracing as a way to expand your plantings.

The  tour begins at the Historic Grange Estate where you will pick up your tickets. The tour ends here too with a talk by master gardeners about the Grange gardens. Light refreshments will be served.

Saturday, June 18   11:00 am-3:00 pm
$15 in advance (at the library)/$20 the day of the event

As always, proceeds benefit the Haverford Township Free Library.
Read more from Garden Writer Martha Van Artsdalen at the Delaware County Press.

Cooking with Your Friends: Simple Sloppy Joes

Our Facebook friends who are searching for a one pot meal need look no further than this recipe. It’s a recipe a mother can love: kids like sloppy Joes, it calls for added vegetables, and they just aren’t that sloppy!

The ingredient list is straightforward. (Don’t worry about that orange pepper; the recipe calls for a green one.) There’s just a small bit of chopping. After that, the meal comes together quickly.

We liked that the vegetables held their snap in this sandwich. We also liked that the sandwiches weren’t too saucy. A good weeknight meal.

Cooking with Your Friends: Spicy Pretzels

You’d think it would be easy to cook from the Friends’ Cookbook once a week. But my sister is getting married in three months, and I have a dress fitting (ugh) coming up. Any chance I get to cook for other people, I take. So even though my hostess told me that she didn’t need any more snacks for the Super Bowl party, I took the opportunity to whip up Spicy Pretzels.

The difficult part of this recipe was breaking up the pretzels. You stir together a few ingredients, drizzle the mixture over the broken pretzels, and bake in a slow oven. They were goooooood. Not too spicy, sort of a slow burn.

Although I stirred them frequently, not all of the pretzels absorbed the “marinade.” I think if I made these again (and if I’m invited back, I will–the hostess loved them) I’d toss the pretzels with the marinade instead of pouring the mixture over the pretzels as called for in the recipe. There can’t be enough of the spice combination on these pretzels for me.

These were a big hit on a day when there was plenty of snack food to choose from. Even people who aren’t into spicy foods liked them…although you will occasionally get a pretzel that seems to have absorbed more cayenne than any other spice. A winner!

Cooking with Your Friends: Dad’s Beef Barley Soup

I have to admit I am loathe to post this and knock the $100,000 post from the top of the blog. It’s such a large, lovely number. Congratulations again to all the Friends.

I cooked this at the behest of Facebook Friends looking for one pot, hearty soups for the winter. Even though we’re experiencing some spring right now, it was still winter when I made this. You should definitely keep it in mind for when the cold returns, whether that be in seven days or seven months!

This recipe calls for quick cooking barley, which I could not find at two local supermarkets. I precooked the barley. This worked fine but it meant I needed almost twice as much liquid called for in the recipe. Also if you are like me and automatically think “stew beef” when you are making soup, recalibrate yourself for this recipe–it definitely needs a beef that can survive quick cooking.

As you can see from the photo, this soup has loads of good vegetables and wholesome grains, in addition to the beef. With just a few ingredients to prepare, it was quick and easy–and it would be even quicker if you could find the right barley! My husband enjoyed it, saying that it was hearty and had nice layers of flavor. I’m not a beef lover, but I did enjoy this one. There’s a sprinkling of thyme in it that seems to work so wonderfully with the veggies.

Cooking with Your Friends: Indiana Pantry Soup

Due to popular demand, I sought out hearty, cold-weather foods for this week’s recipe. Indiana Pantry Soup, which calls for five pounds of potatoes, seemed like exactly the right recipe to tackle in the face of the monster storm predicted for Wednesday.

It’s super easy to put together with many ingredients that you probably have on hand: bacon, onions, celery, potatoes, and milk. (No need to fight the crowds at the grocery store!) After I peeled five pounds of potatoes, the soup came together quickly.

A better description of this dish might be mashed potato soup. (I don’t know that much about Indiana.) It was very hearty and sustaining–just the thing for filling up before you head out to chip away the ice in the driveway or for warming up after such work. The bacon imparts a smokiness, and I added celery salt to enhance the celery flavor. (I also tried to dress up my shot of the soup with a few celery leaves which quickly wilted; a food photographer, I am not!)

I like really bold flavors in my food, and this didn’t really fit the bill. (Maybe that’s the Indiana part?) I added a handful of sharp cheddar, which added a good kick. I’d guess this soup would be perfect for kids, but adults who like a little more zing could add anything you’d use to dress up a baked potato: salsa, hot sauce, garlic, or even ham. Of course, that would take it out of the realm of the pantry.  Either way, this soup will fill you up and keep you warm!