Now What?

My wife recently saw several children’s book at the Wildwood Branch which had stickers on them that said the books were purchased with funds provided by Washington County Library Partners.  It’s great to see visual confirmation of our “2012 in 2012” campaign. 

But it’s 2013 — so what do we do now?

The Partners board is meeting in February and will start to talk about that.  We already have a meeting with library administration planned, as well.  But we’d like to hear what YOU would like to see Partners do in 2013. 

Should we reprise our fundraising campaign for more children’s books and large print books for the visually impaired?  Is there something else you see the libraries need — or is there some opportunity you think is just waiting there to be seized?

Send us your comments.  Or call board president Ken Stone at 651-338-0299. 

Check delivered!

Washington County Library Partners just handed over a check to the Washington County Library for $14,700 — and they’re already ordering the books!  There are so many people to thank … but let me focus on one.

That would be the person (or, it could be a couple) who provided a $7,000 matching grant.  They requested to remain anonymous — and even I don’t know for sure who it is (only our treasurer knows for sure and she isn’t telling).  But I do know our donor is not a rich person.   But the donor really, really believes in the mission of public libraries — and in particular, the donor really believes our county deserves the best possible library system.

That was true of ALL our donors, who contributed everything from $10 to $500.  And it’s true of what I believe:  Washington County has a very good library system — but it could become great.  The “2012 in 2012” campaign is just one step towards that great system.

Another step came, by the way, when the county commissioners decided to find the money to reopen the libraries on Mondays.  It’s not a small amount of money to open all the branches an extra day — about $260,000 — but the commissioners heard from enough people that being closed on Monday was simply not the library system we want.

So thanks to all of you — whether you sent us a check or contacted the commissioners — or both!

Give to the Max!

I’m going to be the first to admit “Give to the Max Day” — which you probably have heard about — is a shameless marketing gimmick.  But then again, so is “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving that officially launches the holiday shopping season.

If you haven’t heard, “Give to the Max Day” is part of GiveMN.org — which is a way to contribute money to hundreds and hundreds of local charities.  You don’t HAVE to give on November 15th — but you’re just strongly encouraged to.  Give to the Max Day is the official kickoff, in a way, of the end-of-the-year contributions so many of us make.

Local charities don’t have coupons or early bird discounts or any of those things — but they do have one important thing:  a strong desire and ability to help people in their community.

The Washington County Library Partners would LOVE for you to go to GiveMN.org on November 15th and make a contribution … but not just to us, to ANY of the terrific nonprofit charities that make Minnesota what it is.

For us?  We’re presenting a check for AT LEAST $14,000 on Tuesday, November 20th, to the Washington County Library.  That’s going to be enough money to buy 2,012 books this year — our goal.  Most will be children’s books, which cost between $4 and $9.   Any money we get on Give to the Max Day, however, will be added to that amount.  And — here’s my pitch — LARGE PRINT books for adults are pretty expensive ($24 each) and so the Library isn’t going to be able to buy many of those books with the money we give them.  But any extra dollars will give the Library the flexibility to buy a few more of those more expensive books.  Children’s books and large print books for adults are the two biggest needs for the Library — so we’d love to be able to buy as many of both types of books  as possible.

So … if you’re one of those folks who love to get up at 4am on the day after Thanksgiving — I hope you have a successful shopping day.  And if you could jump on your computer on “Give to the Max Day” (November 15th) — you will help make other Minnesotans just a bit more successful, themselves.   Now that’s a pretty good deal, doncha think?

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Mission (Mostly) Accomplished!

$14,000 — that’s the money we’ve raised for “2012 in 2012” — and library administration has told us that IS enough money to purchase 2,012 children’s books.  The cost for children’s books, at the Library’s bulk discount, is anywhere from $4 to $9 per book.   Do the math, and they can buy 2,012 books.

We cannot thank you enough!

That said, we’d like to raise a bit more.  Why?  Well, for one thing, near the top of the Library’s list of book needs is large print books for adults with vision impairments.  Those books are pricey — even for the Library — around $24 each.

So for the next 3 weeks, we’re going to work hard at finding folks who are interested in “topping off” our campaign, so to speak.  Every additional dollar will allow the collections manager at the Washington County Library a bit more flexibility in getting the books library patrons most need.

Oh … on Tuesday, November 20th, Partners will present our check to the Library at the county commissioners meeting (that’s a Tuesday morning at the county government center in Stillwater).    You’re invited to come for the presentation!

Can’t Read This?

There are thousands of people in Woodbury and Washington County who can’t read this blog — the print is too small.  Besides, they’re not super comfortable with computers.  Many suffer from macular degeneration — and when their eyesight becomes bad enough, they can no longer read.

That’s why there are large print books for adults.  But they’re expensive.  The typical large print book costs the library twice as much as any other adult fiction or nonfiction book.  The Washington County Library system simply doesn’t have enough.  And it doesn’t have to be that way.

That’s one of the reasons there is the “2012 in 2012” campaign.  We intend to raise enough money to buy 2,012 books for our libraries this year.  The most critical need are large print books for adults — and also children’s books (40% of all the material checked out is for children and teens).

The Washington County Library Partners has raised $6,000 so far.  (Thank you to all who have donated.)  That will be matched, dollar for dollar, by a challenge grant.  But the challenge grant runs out this coming Monday, September 30th.

Can you give the gift of reading to a senior?  Your gift is tax deductible — we are a 501(c)(3) charity.  You can contribute now through PayPal or mail a check to Washington County Library Partners, PO Box 25434, Woodbury, MN 55125.  And I would be more than happy to talk with you about this (my cell is 651-338-0299).