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Library manager Marshana Sharp takes time out from trimming the tree to wait on a patron. To raise funds, the library’s nonprofit Friends group will open the library on Saturday, Dec. 14, to sell books and jewelry, host a silent auction and – get this – raffle off a pistol, all in conjunction with Dade’s annual Christmas on the Square.
 

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.

Additionally, 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.

Especially popular so far have been memorabilia items from the Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama sports teams, said Ms. Street, though she warns: Supplies are limited.

Not 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.

The library 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.

Perhaps the 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: 

“Kel-Tec PMR30 OD green, .22 MAG 2-30RD magazines.” 

The item 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. 

Neither Ms. 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.

Finally, the 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) 657-7857.

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.

Ms. Street 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.

Until then, 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.

 


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