Library supporters gathered last week to send out fundraising
letters. If you gave last year to keep the library open, the
library’s nonprofit Friends group hopes you can come through again.
If you didn’t, your check is still welcome, say the Friends. The
library has $100,000 committed to it from the county and city but
needs $25,000 more to make it through the fiscal year.
By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter
It’s that time
again: Friends of the Dade County Library gathered last week to stuff envelopes
for the first round of fundraising to keep the library’s doors open another
“This is like,
how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” said Donna Street, retired
educator and the Friends group’s current president. “This bite is to raise
enough funds to stay open until next June. The next bite is, what is a method
of firming up funding for the library that does not require a fundraiser, like
we’ve done last year and this year, every year until we die?”
library’s always-delicate financial health was knocked for a major loop last
summer when the Dade County Board of Education, which had for decades shared
responsibility for local funding of the library with the county and the city of
Trenton, abruptly zeroed out its contribution. At that point, the Friends began
fundraising efforts to rope in the $18,000 needed to keep the library open even
for its reduced schedule of 30 hours a week.
To meet budget
this year, the library is exhausting its meager savings and as of August has
further reduced hours to 27 weekly, closing on Saturday mornings. It had
already closed on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning July 2012.
“One of the things we’re really focused on is
raising enough money to open again on Saturday,” said local library board
member Ginnie Sams, one of the envelope stuffers at the Aug. 13 session. “The
hours are so reduced that there are very few hours we’re open after school
closes.” There was a concern, she said, that students would suffer from the
reduced library access.
Wilson, past president of the Friends Group, added that that wasn’t the main
problem. “We’ve got to have $20,000 just to stay open for 27 hours,” she said.
“It’s not just for Saturdays.”
“We have $100,000 committed to us from the
city and the county, but truly, to operate the library we need a minimum of
$125,000,” said Ms. Street. “We need $25,000 and we’re going to have to come
back to the public and ask for it.”
group has plans for several varied fundraising campaigns, including, as was
done last year, an auction broadcast on local television and radio. Ms. Street
said this would probably take place in the fall. “The idea is, people can do
their Christmas shopping,” she said.
present, the Friends are beginning by sending out letters to donors who gave
last year, hoping they are able to come through again. Further along, they will
approach new donors.
As it was last
year, the fund drive’s progress will be measured on a thermometer graphic on
the website Savedadelibrary.org. Donors may give at that website via Paypal,
credit or debit card. Alternatively, they may send a check to the library at
P.O. Box 340, Trenton, Ga., 30752, or drop cash or checks off in person at 102
Court St., Trenton.
gotten $250,” said Ms. Wilson. “We’ve filled up the bulb of the thermometer.”
thermometer will be updated once a week, said Ms. Street.
further invites readers to contribute by buying books at its continuing
new-and-used book sale through the end of this week.
Ms. Street says
the library staff and volunteers hope they can one day stop hitting up patrons
for donations every time they turn around. “We want the library and we want a
sustainable solution, and our county commissioners and city commissioners are
willing if somebody can figure out how to do that without putting the burden on
the property tax owners totally,” she said. “We’re working on that. Come hell
or high water, we’re going to find a solution.”