Friends of Maleny Library (FOML) has been an integral part of the Peg Burnett Library in Maleny since it opened in 1998. As Jill Cutting explained, “This not-for-profit group of enthusiastic supporters promoted the library services, advocated on the library’s behalf and raised money for furnishings, projects and events in the library.
“They helped staff run events for children, teenagers and adults, promoted volunteering, and worked to strengthen the library’s links with the local community.”
At the beginning of 2020, Covid-19 saw the suspension of all Friends of the Library groups across the Sunshine Coast and sadly the decision was made by the Sunshine Coast Council to not invite these groups back to be part of their local library. Individuals are able to volunteer in some roles, but, according to Jill, the Sunshine Coast Council does not currently see a need for fundraising for individual libraries.
“The FOML acknowledge the unfailing support they have received from the many wonderful staff at Maleny’s Peg Burnett Library over the years and extend their heartfelt appreciation,” said Jill.
“Once upon a time, before Maleny had any kind of library service, Peg’s mother, Frances Jane McLean (nee Wiley), ran a book borrowing service from the boot of her car. In 1932, the first library was established in the annex of the Maleny School of Arts Hall in Maple Street.
“Margaret (Peg) Burnett (nee McLean) took over from the first librarian, Betty Blacklaw, and managed the library until she married in 1939. A fire gutted the building in 1951. The hall was rebuilt on the same site and renamed the Maleny Community Centre. Peg Burnett returned to manage the library until 1978.
“Peg and her family worked tirelessly to provide the Maleny community with a permanent library. In the 1990s, the Maleny Fruit Barn, then adjacent to Tesch Park on Coral Street, was bought by the Caloundra City Council, refurbished and became the new library, which was officially opened on 1 May 1998 and in honour of the “Maleny Matriarch”, it was named the ‘Peg Burnett Library’.
Many people have been a part of the library: the Maleny Quilters, the Blackall Range Woodcrafters Guild, the local sewing group who made cushions for the children to sit on, plus volunteers who made educational toys and puzzles, and stacked the book shelves. It was this group of volunteers that called themselves The Friends of Maleny Library (FOML).
It was the FOML who read to the children, ran workshops and events every school holidays, organised and ran the annual children’s Christmas party.
For nearly two decades the FOML raised money for the library and funds for the local schools, hospital, aged care facility, charities and community groups through such things as book sales (pictured), raffles, running events and author talks.
“Maleny has always had a reputation as being a community with high social capital and it is community groups like the Friends with their networks that have contributed to this valuable commodity,” said Jill.
It is with sadness that the Friends of Maleny Library advises that the CBC account at the IGA has been closed and they say farewell.