BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Friends of the Broome County Public Library is the Greater Binghamton Chamber Business of the Week.

The Friends raise money for programs and improvements to the library on Court Street.

The group was founded in 1967 when the library was located on Exchange Street and operated by the City of Binghamton.

Through grants and proceeds from regular book sales, Friends is able to support a variety of clubs and programs at the library such as yoga and knitting for adults, coloring and Legos for kids.

President JoAnne Hanrahan says the library is a community gathering space.

“We are very proud of the fact that our library receives more visitors than the baseball stadium or the Forum or the Broome County Arena. That’s how many people come in and enjoy our library. We are very, very proud of that.”

Hanrahan says the Friends recently received a grant from the Klee Foundation to convert its public lounge near the entrance into a safe space for the homeless and people living with mental health and substance use concerns.

It features free coffee and snacks along with counselors who assist people with accessing available services.

The next project, funded by the Kresge Foundation, will replace the carpeting in the children’s area, purchase STEAM projects for kids and create an accessible doorway to the adjacent reading garden.

For information about joining, go to BC Library dot info slash BCPL Friends, although a new updated site will replace that at the end of this month.