At the recent annual meeting of the Friends of the Grand Rapids Area Library Pat Fideldy received the Stand Up for Standout Library Friends Award from the Minnesota Association of Library Friends, an organization that recognizes and supports citizens who support libraries.
When you ask Fideldy how she became involved with Friends of the Library she is a bit vague on details because her involvement with the Grand Rapids Area Library is so extensive, beginning when her own children were small and she came for books and programs. Her volunteer efforts began working with the Library Foundation on art auction fundraisers, persuading local artists to donate a piece for an auction. As the new library building moved from dream to reality Fideldy was on the committee that chose the artwork for the new building, including pieces commissioned for the building. ! Walking through the library you see Pat’s touch in many areas. She is very proud of her involvement with FOL in a joint project with the Minneapolis Children’s Museum that resulted in a permanent display on the Mississippi River. Located in the Children’s LIbrary is a boat, a bait shop, and related equipment just waiting for small visitors. This project was the result of a joint funding effort by the Friends of the Library, the Library Foundation, and the Blandin Foundation.
Fideldy’s touch is also on the Minnesota Author’s Quilt that adorns the north wall of the library. This FOL project in 2015-2016 involved Pat contacting Minnesota authors, explaining the project, and getting signatures from the authors. These signatures were incorporated into a quilt in the design of a bookshelf with the Minnesota books prominently displayed. The winner of the fundraiser donated the quilt to the library for display.
Fideldy served as Vice President of Friends for many years and was the person in charge of social activities and arrangements. Fideldy says she is not detail-oriented enough to be an organization head, but is a willing worker. She was involved when the FOL Annual Meeting took on a more social aspect which led to increased membership; an afternoon tea with the opportunity to win book-themed baskets was a great draw. Friends of the Library Week always meant cake and a reception in the library. These social activities welcomed more people into the library and provided greater awareness of what the library had to offer.
Fideldy has a special fondness for the Children’s Library and can claim as one of her greatest contributions to the library being the mother of the Children’s Librarian,Tracy Kampa. Fideldy became Grandma Pat helping Kampa with the summer Children’s Story Time, assisting with snacks and crafts. Pat’s experience as an elementary school teacher at St. Joseph’s School for 32 years, followed by seven years at Itasca Community College with the Class Act Program and teaching Developmental Reading make her a valuable asset for the library.
Fideldy was born in Iowa but moved to Grand Rapids as a teen when her family managed a resort on Splithand Lake. Although as a young child she wanted to be a teacher, she didn’t actually pursue that goal until after she was married and had two children. With the support of her husband Ken, PFideldy attended ICC and then BSU getting her degree in 1974. She received her Masters Degree from St. Scholastic in 2001.
Although Fideldy is no longer a current board member, she remains active with Friends. Whether it’s working at a book sale, ordering cake for an event, or sending out membership notices, you can count on Pat to be there supporting the library as she has for 40 years. The Grand Rapids Area Friends of the Library was honored to nominate Pat Fideldy for the 2021 “Stand Up For Standout Library Friends.”
National Friends of Libraries Week is October 17-23. Due to Covid 19 concerns there will not be the usual celebration with cake in the library lobby, but FOL remains active and supportive of the GRAL. The book store is open and the Holiday Book Sale is scheduled for Nov. 6 at Community Presbyterian Church. Membership in FOL is a way of supporting the library and information is available in the book store.