By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter
The Dade County
Library will open its doors from 4 –8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, not just to
check out and receive books but also to participate in the Chamber of
Commerce’s annual parade and Christmas on the Square event.
And it is the
hope of the library’s nonprofit Friends group, which is footing the bill for
employees’ salaries and other operating expenses on the Saturday – one of the
library’s usual closed days – that this year, Santa will bring something for
the library, too.
“To keep the
library open at 27 hours until this July, we still need $13,000,” said Friends
President Donna Street.
As of Monday
morning, letter-writing campaigns and other fundraising activities had netted
$10,143 of the $23,000 needed to keep the library going until the end of this
fiscal year, even at its reduced three-day-a-week schedule. Thus the Friends
will devote the Dec. 14 opening to a silent auction, book sale and raffle in
the hope of biting off a little more of the deficit elephant before the end of
2013. “Then we’ll have to figure out about next year,” said Ms. Street.
On sale will be
handcrafted items from the knitting and crocheting workshops the library hosts
weekly. “And I think the ladies from the quilting class are trying to work up
some quilts for the event, too,” said Ms. Street.
Ms. Street can
personally recommend the crocheted dishcloths, which she says are virtually
immortal. “The only way to kill one is to unravel it,” she said.
the Friends group will sell boxes and boxes of high-quality costume jewelry
that Ms. Street assures will make excellent and moderately priced Christmas
gifts for all of the ladies on any reader’s list. The Friends have necklace and
earring sets that will go for a very reasonable sum, she says, and bracelets
that can be had for around $12. “This jewelry is good stuff,” she said.
popular so far have been memorabilia items from the Tennessee, Georgia and
Alabama sports teams, said Ms. Street, though she warns: Supplies are limited.
surprisingly, the library will also have on sale its own chief stock in trade:
books. Ms. Street says she’s still trying to arrange with Barnes & Noble
one of the in-library book sales the bookseller has hosted before, but she’s
not sure if she’ll succeed by Dec. 14. But whether or not B&N shows, says
Ms. Street, it’s not as if the library didn’t have plenty of volumes old and
new of its own. “We’ve got a whole pile of romances left over from this
summer,” said Ms. Street.
received a generous truckload of new romance novels from the Romance Writers of
America’s annual convention in July, which this year was held in Atlanta, and
which several library staffers and Friends attended. The romances featured prominently at a
fundraising book sale in August, but plenty remain to warm up the long, cold
months of winter.
Need Ms. Street
add that romance novels make excellent stocking stuffers?
Ms. Street can
also accommodate the reader who is after sturdier stuff. “The Historical
Society has a new book that will come out on that day,” she said.
The new Dade
County history book, like the one already in print, was compiled from
documentation left by the late Sue Forester, said Ms. Street. Both books will
be on sale at the Dec. 14 event and for that day all profits will go to the
library, she said.
most unusual fundraising activity at the event will be a raffle for a gun. Ms.
Street, no weapons enthusiast, could not describe this latter in any more
detail than “a pistol,” and referred the Sentinel for more information to past
Friends President Linda Wilson.
Ms. Wilson, a
retired schoolteacher, was not much more arms-literate herself but explained
the pistol was to be donated by one of her former students who runs a gun
business on Sand Mountain. She said he had provided the following description
of the gift:
OD green, .22 MAG 2-30RD magazines.”
retails at $463, he said. The Friends will begin selling chances on it at the
Christmas event and continue doing so until a drawing is held on Feb. 14.
Street nor Ms. Wilson mentioned whether pistols make excellent Valentine’s Day
presents, and the Sentinel cannot independently supply the missing information
but must leave readers to draw their own inferences.
Friends will sell hot chocolate to cold event attendees at the Dec. 14 event on
the square if they can between now and then round up sufficient volunteers to
hawk the wares. Prospective cocoa-slingers may call the library at (706)
The library has
been operating at a deficit, and has been obliged to decrease its open hours
steadily, since the Dade County Board of Education in the summer of 2012
abruptly ceased its share of the library’s maintenance. For decades previously,
the school board had shared local funding of the library with the two other
taxing agencies in Dade, the county and Trenton city governments. Both the
latter have sometimes decreased their library support during lean times but the
school system, pleading budget cuts from the state, ducked out from under
entirely, leaving a $38,000 annual hole the two remaining agencies have been
unable to make up.
hopes dependable funding will emerge eventually to allow the library to return
at least to its reduced 30-hour week, if not to the old 40. “Though I think
Mondays may be gone forever,” she said.
The library is
currently open only on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
more or less constant fundraising is the reality the library must face, and Ms.
Street hopes Dade will turn out in force on Dec. 14 for the Christmas event.
On the other
hand, she urges prospective contributors not to stand upon the order but to
give at their convenience, either by check to 102 Court St., Trenton, Ga.,
30752, or electronically at www.savedadelibrary.org.
“We are always
equipped to take a donation from anyone,” she said.