BY LORAINE ANDERSON
KINGSLEY — The Kingsley Friends of the Library can add a new feather to its cap, thanks to a historic fishing fly and their own hard work.
The group was named the state's 2012 Outstanding Michigan Friends of the Library for libraries serving a population under 12,000, in part because of the Friends-driven annual Adams Fishing Fly Festival in Kingsley last summer.
The festival was the Friends' largest single fundraising event. It attracted more than 700 people and raised more than $13,000.
The Adams Fly, the prototype of the fishing world's most widely used fly, is permanently housed at the Kingsley Branch Library.
"We're thrilled and shocked," Gay Travis, president of the 62-member group, said of the award recently bestowed by the Friends of Michigan Libraries.
The Kingsley Friends also led the 10-year private fundraising campaign that allowed the Friends to construct the $900,000 Kingsley Branch Library building in 2008 without the need for a millage. Donations ranged from student penny jars to a $50,000 gift from a former resident, donated labor and engineering.
The 6,400-square-foot library opened in February 2009.
The local Friends' 2012 contributions to branch library programs totaled more than $11,800 and the group's library endowment fund totals more than $30,000. The library is part of the Traverse City Area District Library system and serves an area population of about 6,300.
The state award focuses only on 2012 events, said branch library manager Mary Fraquelli, who along with TADL staff nominated the Kingsley group for the statewide nomination without telling Traverse and other Friends.
Other 2012 Friends activities include:
n The creation of the Floyd Milton Webster Prize for History to annually recognize authors of outstanding research and writing on Kingsley area history.
n Attack Festival of Arts sponsored by the Friends in partnership with the Kingsley Area Schools.
n An annual sale of plants donated by local gardeners.
n A Gathering of Gardeners tour during the Kingsley Heritage Days celebration and slate of programs focused on saving seeds, biodiversity in the backyard, herbal tea and garden topiary.
n The donation of peace pole in the Children's Garden cove behind the library.
n The "Illustration of Light" photo exhibit by local photographer Mark Lindsay, who documented the drawdown of Brown Bridge Dam Pond on the Boardman River. It attracted 300 people.
n A Valentines Day Party for 65 local children, annual book sale and annual holiday open house.
Planning is under way for the second annual festival on June 1.
Len Halladay, legendary fly tier, fishing guide and Mayfield hotel owner, created the Adams fly. Area resident Edna Sargent, an angler and Halladay friend, donated it to the Friends group two or three years ago. Sargent also is founder of the Mayfield Pond Park, located at the Halladay home site.
The 12-member library board is looking for a new board member to fill a vacancy, Travis said. Applications can be picked up at the library.