Friends gather for afternoon tea at Sims Memorial Library

The mixed fragrance of brewing tea welcomed library supporters and book lovers alike to the first “Tea with Friends” event.

The event was held on the second floor of Sims Memorial Library on Saturday, March 11 at 2 p.m. and brought together members of the “Friends of Sims Library” program for an afternoon of tea and snacks.

“It was originally meant as a members’ party, but we happened to be doing a membership drive at the same time so we felt if people wanted to become a member and come, then we would get some extra members and they could enjoy the tea,” said Director of Sims Memorial Library Eric Johnson. “We had about 43 sign up, and I counted about 34 who showed up. We did extremely well. Much better than I thought we would.”

Guests sat around tables decorated with colorful tea cups and saucers. A variety of teas were served to guests as they mingled and snacked. The main event of the afternoon was a speech by Susan Lawson, retired book editor for the Times Picayune and current host of “The Reading Life” on National Public Radio.

“Since it’s friends of the library and we have an active book club, we wanted someone to talk about books. Michael Ledet, who is on the board, is a friend of Susan’s and he suggested we have Susan come,” said Johnson on selecting Lawson as the speaker. “I thought that’d be perfect because she was a book reporter for the Times Picayune for umpteen years and she has written a book. She knows authors and she knows books. She judged the Pulitzer Prize for fiction so she was the perfect choice. I was delighted that she was able to make it and I think the people here were as well.”

According to a pamphlet handed out at the event, “Friends of Sims Library” is an organization that helps support the library. The money collected from members and events is used to purchase new equipment, resources and special events.

Johnson expressed his belief that “Friends of Sims Library” is a program that anyone, especially students, who enjoy the services of the library should join.

“It’s a way for people who enjoy books, who enjoy reading, who enjoy libraries to take an active part in supporting Southeastern’s library,” said Johnson.

For more information on becoming a member or on the library in general, check out Sims Memorial Library website at or call 985-549-2186.