Friends of Cary Library logoThe Friends of Cary Memorial Library, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supplementing and enhancing library services, as well as advocating for the library and its users. We are also a part of the Massachusetts Friends of Libraries (MFOL), a networking, advocacy, and educational organization that lobbies elected officials for library support throughout the Commonwealth.

Friends of Cary Library membership supports

  • Free and reduced-price admission passes to area museums and seasonal events
  • Periodic lectures and performances held at Cary Library
  • Volunteer services to library staff and patrons
  • Additions to the print, electronic, and audiovisual collections of the library
  • Children’s, Teen's and Adult's summer reading programs
  • Funds for the renovated library and the purchase of specialized equipment

Be a friend of Cary Library. Join online or complete a membership form [PDF] and bring it to the library circulation desk or send by mail to:

Friends of Cary Memorial Library, Inc.
1874 Massachusetts Avenue
Lexington, MA 02420-5303

Need more information? Call 781-862-6288 ext.84407 or email

Friends Expand Book Donation Hours

Friends of Cary Library logoFriends now accepting book donations whenever the Library is open. 

Limit: Reasonable quantities. 

Drop-off Location: Parking Lot Entrance on Green Carts. 

Spring and Fall Weekend (Fri-Sun) Book Sales in May and November

Friends of Cary Library Book SaleScheduled dates

Spring Book Sale 2024

Friday, May 3 - Sunday, May 5 

Fall Book Sale 2024

NOTE: On hold pending library construction project.

Special Friends Members-Only Hours:
  Friday, 1 - 5 PM
  Saturday, 9 - 10 AM
Become a member at the sale and shop during Friends Members-Only Hours!

General Public Hours:
  Saturday, 10 AM - 5 PM
  Sunday, 1 PM - 5 PM

All proceeds support library programs and services.

Scanners, smartphones and electronic devices are not permitted during the Friends Members-Only or General Public Hours sale at book sale tables or on individual items.

You’ll find a wealth of quality items at great prices!

  • Gently used fiction and non-fiction books
  • Children's books
  • Paperbacks
  • Audio books
  • CDs, DVDs, videos


Coffee Table/Large Format
Popular Fiction
Religion and Philosophy
Social Science
Specially Priced Books $5 & up

Book Sale Donations

The Friends of Cary Library welcome book donations year-round.

Meet The Board

Ethie Slate, President
Nancy Olt, Vice President
Sandra Waxman, Vice President, Book Sales Co-Chair
Grace Murphy, Treasurer
Debasish Roychowdhury, Secretary
Jean Barry, Children’s Book Sales Chair
Mary Burnell, Volunteers Co-Chair
Linda Cohen, Member-at-Large
Aniece Ragland Kerr, Member-at-Large
Pam Peifer, Membership Chair
Judy Hanlon, Book Sales Co-Chair
Leanne Soylemez, Communications Chair

Board Meetings

Board meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month, September to May, at 9 am in the Cary Library Learning Center.

You do not have to be a member to attend and we welcome anyone who has an interest in what the Friends do or who would like to become more involved!

Be a friend of Cary Library

Join online or complete a membership for [PDF] and bring it to the library circulation desk or send by mail to:

Friends of Cary Memorial Library, Inc.
1874 Massachusetts Avenue
Lexington, MA 02420-5303

Become a Member

We thank you kindly for your continuing support.

To Volunteer

To volunteer call 781-862-6288 ext. 84408, email or fill out our Adult Volunteer form.

Donate Materials & Book Sales

PLEASE NOTE: We welcome you to drop-off your book donations whenever the Library is open. 

Cary Library accepts donations of gently used materials in reasonable quantities. Some items may be added to the library collection at the discretion of staff. Many materials not added to the collection are sold by the Friends of Cary Library in the Elizabeth K. Clark Book Store, at the Children's Book Sale Cart, or during the May and November Book Sales. Others are donated to charitable organizations.

We Cannot Accept:

  • Magazines
  • Textbooks
  • Travel or Computer books more than 2 years old
  • Items with obvious damage
    (water, mold, mildew, broken spines, pages missing or falling out)
  • CDs or DVDs without cases or covers

Please do not donate these items, as they take time and effort to dispose of.

Donation Guidelines

We welcome donations of only the following materials in good condition for both adults and children:

  • Hardcover and paperback fiction and current nonfiction
  • Music and spoken-word CDs
  • Films and television series on DVD

Materials may be left at the donation station in the parking lot entrance lobby. If you would like a receipt for tax purposes, please request one at the Adult Reference Desk on the Main Level.

Do you have other materials not on our list? The area organizations listed below are just a few that will accept printed and audiovisual materials.

Friends of Cary Memorial Library bookstore

Ongoing Book Sale

The Friends of Cary Library operate an ongoing Book Sale in the Elizabeth K. Clark Book Store on the library’s main level next to the Cary Commons.

Children's books and AV items are available for sale on the blue Children's Book Sale Cart inside the entrance to the Children's Room.

You’ll find a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction in excellent condition at very reasonable prices. Drop by and see!


Book sale room

Spring and Fall Book Sales

Spring Book is in May

Fall Book Sale is in November

See the Friends' events page for exact dates.


For more information, call 781-862-6288 x84407 or email us at .

Friends of Cary Library support a primary library goal: creating a welcoming environment!

We contribute volunteer help during annual day and evening programs, and provide hospitality on other occasions. All are great ways to build community connections and socialize!

Staff and Volunteer Appreciations 

These yearly events recognize volunteers, library workers, including librarians, support staff and others who make library service possible.

See all of our volunteer opportunities!


History Highlights

Take a walk down memory lane with Friends of Cary Memorial Library!


Under the leadership of Ione Garing and Nancy Winsten, the Friends of Cary Library is founded by a group of supporters, committed to sustaining and developing the library’s resources and services. 

125 people attend the 1st Annual Meeting, featuring Simon Schama, Harvard University professor, speaking on “Murder at Harvard: The Historian as Detective.”


Membership rises to 540! 

Friends Discovery Day Book Sale
The 2nd Annual Book Sale is held at the library on Discovery Day, May 25.

A Play Reading Group forms and meets every other Monday evening at a group member’s home.


Friends of Cary donates a new security system to enhance access to videos and compact disks. 

“Share an evening of poetry” is listed among Spring Calendar dates!


Friends adds Boston’s Aquarium and Science Museum to the museum pass program. Additional funds also underwrite for two CD-ROM data bases: Moody’s for business information and Granger’s for poetry.

Seal Journey book cover


Spring and Fall Lexington Authors Evenings continue. Among the speakers are Richard Sobol and son Jonah, who create Seal Journey, following their trip to Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence.


Friends of Cary bids farewell to library directory Robert C. Hilton and welcomes new director Carol A. Mahoney.

Income from donated book sales, from July 1994 to July 1995, totals $15,165 and continues to enhance library services, including the museum pass program.


Friends reports the purchase of a sound system for the library, in its Spring newsletter.

Friends co-sponsors Aimons Lire, a Franco-American reading club in Lexington, with Boston Accueil and French Cultural Center. The club alternately reads and discusses the books in the language of the book editions.

Photo of the East Branch Library in the Stone Building


Cary Library joins the Minuteman Library Network, providing patrons borrowing privileges at 33 public libraries and access to four academic libraries.

As library advocates, Cary Friends representatives attend the annual Massachusetts Federation of Libraries meeting and hear about priorities and activities of other attendees.

1,383 Lexington children and their families participate in this year’s summer reading program, “CELEBRATE! READ!,” at the main and East Branch libraries, reading 20,812 hours.


Library renovation is on the horizon! During the Friends annual meeting, Lexington historian and speaker Larry Whipple spotlights the town’s early libraries, including adult member-based Social and Farmers’ libraries and a free Juvenile library, established by town vote in 1827. Bill Dailey, board chair of newly formed Cary Memorial Library Foundation, outlines the Foundation purpose and the upcoming capital building plans.

This same year, Friends of Cary Memorial Library incorporates as a private, not-for-profit organization.


During a Spring program, Friends of Cary member and MFA lecturer Miriam W. Butts explores Isabella Stewart Gardner’s world famous house-museum, using slides and drawing on special books in Cary Library’s collection relating to the Gardner Museum. 

For the first time, Friends of Cary and Lexington Historical Society co-sponsor a lecture, given by Dr. Thomas O’Connor, author of numerous books on Boston history. The event takes place in   the Dining Room of Hancock Church.


Friends pledge payment
As published in the Lexington Minuteman on August 17, 2000. [Staff photo by Lawrence Pruyne]
Isabel L. Jankelson (second from right), president of The Friends of Cary Memorial Library Inc., turns a $15,000 pledge payment over to William J. Dailey, president of the Cary Memorial Library Foundation. To date, The Friends have made donations totaling $87,000 towards their $100,000 pledge for the library’s renovation project. Also present for the check passing was Carol A. Mahoney, library director (left) and Mary Aybazian, treasurer of The Friends. In acknowledgement of this gift, the Foundation will name the conference and lecture hall in the renovated building for The Friends.

The library closes for renovation in November.

Poster for Friends Mystery lecture

Mystery writer workshops take place in December at the Museum of National Heritage.


During National Children’s Book Week, in November, Friends of Cary and Lexington Historical Society co-host “Celebrating American History in Children’s Literature: from the Revolution to 1900” at Pilgrim Congregational Church. Keynote speaker, Professor Sue Burgess, joins Lexington writers and panelists to discuss important aspects of writing history books for children.


Friends of Cary continues to fund passes to 14 area museums. The Science Museum, Discovery Museum, and Aquarium receive highest use, with passes averaging 19, 16, and 15 times each month, in recent months. 

For the second year, the annual meeting takes place at the Church of Our Redeemer—as it would the next year!


In February, Friends of Cary and the National Heritage Museum hold a joint Great Train Film Festival for young children on three mornings and adults during three evenings. Despite cold, snowy mornings, parents, grandparents, and nannies especially turn out with little ones to enjoy “Thomas the Tank Engine,” “John Henry,” and “The Little Engine That Could.”

Library opening photo


Cary Library re-opens on a bright, sunny April day, with Friends volunteers on hand to greet each library visitor. 

Authors Evening Series and Book Sales planning gets underway!  When the Author Evening Series resume in the fall, bestseller novelist, Dennis Lehane, is among the featured speakers!

Band of Liberty logo


Monday Evenings of Music in March feature Colonial Brass, part of the Band of Liberty, stationed at Hanscom Air Force Base. Next up, Jeff Leonard, Lexington High School music teacher and student musicians, who present “DeMystifying Jazz: What is it all about.”


Friends of Cary and the Lexington Reads Committee co-host a Film/Discussion Series. Among the entries are “Joy Luck Club” and “House of Sand and Fog. Based on series popularity, the partners sponsor a 2007 series, this one ranging from “Asphalt Jungle” to the comedy, “Talk of the Town.”


Mystery writers and community members gather at the Depot for a Sleuth Soiree, a first-ever Friends gala fund-raiser. Guests and writers enjoy mingling with the writers, who share thoughts about their books and mystery writing.

Friends Sleuth Soiree

As published in the Lexington Minuteman on November 1, 2007. [Staff photo by Holly Schmidt]
Hal Lord, left, and Stu Taylor, both of Lexington, enjoy the Sleuth Soiree on Friday night at the Depot Building.

Photo of Friends bookstore opening


On June 12, Friends of Cary Memorial Library Book Store opens, a gift of Peggy Barton, in honor of past President Betty Clark.

In the fall, Friends announces a free lecture series, presented by John Tischio, New England Opera Club president.  A free study series, presented by Dr. Irene Weigel, offers the public A Survey of Eastern World Faith Traditions.

Photo of rare books


Friends of Cary encourages the community to bring old books, historical newspapers or magazines to a talk titled “Is There Value in Your Old and Rare Books.”  Guest speaker is Kenneth Gloss, proprietor of  Boston’s Brattle Book Shop and frequent Antique Road Show contributor.

At its annual meeting, Friends celebrates a 20th anniversary, showcasing its accomplishments with photos and stories!

Photo of Rick Beyer filming


Friends welcomes back Dr. Irene Weigel, who presents a second study series, Eastern and Western Faith Traditions through Art.

Lexington resident, documentary producer, author and historian Rick Beyer provides a behind-the-scenes view of “Adventures in History Filmmaking” at the 21st annual meeting. 


As in previous years, representatives of Friends of Cary Memorial Library attend the Annual Legislative Breakfast, this time held at Cambridge Library. Speakers and discussion focus on current state legislative agenda and Massachusetts library system updates.

Friends of Cary bids farewell to Library Director Connie Rawson and welcomes Koren Stembridge as new director. In a move to Go Green, Friends members are encouraged to receive newsletters by email.


Friends of Cary continues to co-sponsor summer reading programs, providing children, teens and adults with fun activities plus prizes. For teens, the “Own the Night” program features reading discussion groups, a creative workshop series, movies, journal- and sushi-making classes, and video game olympics!

Rock & Roll logo


Popular music fans flock to Dr. Steve Berrien’s Rock and Roll and American Society: From the Roots of Rock and Roll to the British Invasion. The Friends-hosted weekly series runs from late fall through early winter.

As always, Friends volunteers keep the Children’s Book Cart and Book Store stocked with gently used donated books and materials for purchase. Proceeds continue to support summer reading programs, museum passes, library collections and services.

Year of Discovery Logo




The year 2014 marked a major celebration: the  25th  Year for Friends of Cary Memorial Library. Since 1989, our organization has supported Cary Memorial Library’s mission and services by:

  • Acting as advocates for the Library and statewide library services
  • Raising funds to supplement Library resources and services
  • Sponsoring programs and special events
  • Organizing and supporting Library volunteers

Cary Library designates 2014 as its “Year of Discovery: Science, Technology and You.” In partnership, Friends of Cary hosts spring and fall speakers programs and co-sponsors the Childrens Summer Reading Program—all focusing on science and technology.

Artist rendering of Transformative Spaces


In response to Cary Memorial Library Foundation’s 2015 launches of its fundraising campaign, Transformative Spaces: The Library Responds to Changing Times, Friends members, at its annual meeting, votes to approve a $50,000, $10,000 a year, for 5 years pledge. (Friends completes this commitment in a 4- instead of 5-year, originally planned, timeline.)

Anthony Amore - Credit: Jesse Costa/WBUR
Credit: Jesse Costa/WBUR


Every March since 2004, Lexington Reads, Cary Memorial Library’s townwide book club, has promoted the love of reading and increased Lexington community connections through one-book discussions and companion program events. In 2016, the theme is: Art of the Heist, with Friends hosting Anthony Amore, Head of Security and

Chief Investigator, Isabella Stewart Museum and author of Stealing Rembrandts, and The Art of the Con.

Mimi Ballard


In May, Friends of Cary establishes the Mimi Ballard Memorial Fund to honor the organization’s former board secretary and later treasurer’s spirit and legacy. The fund is held as part of the Cary Memorial Library Endowment. It will support materials, services, and programs that are selected, developed, and offered by Cary Memorial Library, and that include and/or serve children with special needs.

Celebrating 150 Cary Library


As Cary Library’s 150th Anniversary launches (spanning 2018-19), Friends hosts a commemorative  September 2018 panel program, “Discovering Your Home’s History,” attended by 50 members of the community. Guest panelists include Anne Grady (Architectural Overview), Marilyn Fenollosa (Cultural Resources Survey), Linda Carroll (Edwin B. Worthen Collection), Elizabeth Mubarak (Lexington Historical Society Archives) and Lee Yates (Town of Lexington Archives). LexMedia records the event, also viewable on YouTube.

Celebrating 150 Cary Library Stamp of Joyce Chen


To further support the Library’s 150th Anniversary, Friends volunteers turn out at the end of January to host a joyous Birthday Party. The board of directors approve a $1000 donation, at the Author Level, to the Foundation-hosted Gala, held in March. Some attending Friends ticket holders also serve as Gala volunteers.

As March ends, Lexington resident, cookbook author and educator Helen Chen is the Spring  Book Lover’s Brunch guest speaker. Helen shares memories of her family and especially of her mother Joyce, restauranteur, cookbook author and television show trailblazer, immortalized in the U.S. Postal Service’s 2014 Celebrity Chef Forever Stamp Series.

Friends of Cary also observe its 30th Anniversary during the year.

Lois Lowry - Copyright 2012 Matt McKee Bag of Books
Copyright 2012 Matt McKee


In June, Friends hosts and Cary Library virtually broadcasts An Evening with Lois Lowry, the beloved children’s book author. Hundreds of Lowry fans register for the ZOOMed event.

Due to the COVID pandemic, Friends of Cary Library announce an ongoing Bag of Books Sale, starting September 1. Book lovers stop by the library Massachusetts Avenue entrance Mondays through Saturday, 9 am to 4 pm, to purchase bags of gently used, previously donated  adult and children’s books, packed according to COVID-19 protocol. An estimated 7,000 books circulate in the community, over the course of the sale, which ends in mid-2021.

Book donation


Friends of Cary host a Gently Used Book Donation Drop-Off, in June, in Cary’s South Entrance Parking Lot. The 2-hour event draws a steady stream of cars, with 12 volunteers helping donors to remove approximately 2,000 adult, young adult, and children’s books from rear seats and trunks as quickly as possible!