Rendition of new library

Rendition of new library
The New Point Roberts Library Out of the Old Julius Firehall

Monday, August 11, 2014

If It's This Saturday, It's a Quilt Show!

On Saturday, August 16, the Friends are sponsoring a quilt show (a retrospective of Judy Ross's 7 decades of quilting and 4 decades of quilts) where the drawing for the raffle quilt we've been selling tickets on will be completed by drawing for the winner.  Since it's a quilt show, it will also have a lot of quilts for people in the vicinity to look at.  And, since it's a quilt show, there will be quilts and quilted things for sale and a silent auction for such things, as well.

The Show will be held in the Community Center from 10-3.  From 2-3, Judy will do a walking tour of the quilts to explain how dramatically quilting has changed over the past 70 years, partly because of technology, partly because of feminism, and partly because an economy in high gear is anxious to sell just about anything to somebody, in this case quilters.  It went from a largely recycling activity and a home hobby to a giant business and an art field.  Says Ms. Ross (who is writing this blog post, of course), "It's been a fun 70 years, but it always saddens me some that all that change is largely invisible to everyone but quilters themselves.  So, I hope to do a show (at 2 pm on Saturday) that will help me to tell visitors about how some of that happened so that people will, I hope, begin to look at quilts with new eyes."

Please come, and please ask your friends and neighbors to come!  Admission by donation and all proceeds, including sales of quilts and quilted goods, will go directly to the new library.

If you can't make it (and why would that be?), the quilts will remain on the walls for the rest of that Saturday evening, so if you are going to the Joke Contest, you can look at them then, too, but you can't hear Judy talk about them except at 2 o'clock.

"Fireworks," 2014, 42"x60".

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer and the Library Fundraising

It's been a very quiet spring for us at Library Fundraising, largely because we have been waiting for the IRS to correct their error with respect to our 501c3 listing.  But It did finally get corrected which allowed us to return to fundraising this summer.

We expected to devote this year to applying to foundations and the like for significant grants, and that is still our plan although we're now about six months behind.  But we're on it.  Our current total funds raised is $327,000.  So, if we're aiming at $500,000, we'd need $173,000 more.  But, we're now aiming at $538,000 for a variety of reasons, not least the expectation that in the several years we've been raising these funds, the costs of building will have increased some so we want to go to the foundations with a more realistic cost appraisal.

We've had some good news and some not so good news on the costs of building: first, the initial assessment of the septic system is that it is adequate for the planned new library.  Having to replace the septic system would involve $30-$40,000, I am told, so that looks like it will be a big savings (assuming the final assessment is the same).  On the other hand, it turns out that there is an underground heating oil tank that will have to be drained and removed.  Fortunately, we have people involved who have a better understanding of the technical matters than I do.

Additionally, we have moved ahead on naming an architect in order to get the design work moved forward.  There are some foundations that will expect us to have something more like final design completed before they get involved in any funding.  We are hoping that architectural appointment will happen by the end of July and those drawings and plans will be available in the fall.

Finally, as to actual foundation proposals: we have identified 9 foundations whose interests match our project and who are willing to support capital projects in principle.  They have different requirements, purposes and schedules, so we can't just send 9 copies of our proposal out, but we have sent two (required) pre-proposals (called 'letters of inquiry') which are fairly brief applications asking to be invited to submit a full proposal.  And we have mailed out one full proposal.  We can expect fairly rapid responses to the Letters of Inquiry.  And one of them, the M.J. Murdoch Charitable Trust, has indeed turned us down because they 'don't usually fund public libraries.'  And we are, indeed, a public library, but their web page and instructions didn't mention that would be a limitation.

So, that's where we are right now: at 8 foundations.  We'll let you know what we know, what we hear, whenever we hear something.  The Norcliffe Foundation (in Seattle), to whom we sent a full proposal this week, will not make any decisions for about three months.

  In the meantime, we are at the Saturday/Community Market from 10-1 every weekend and hope you'll come by for news, plants, vegetables, quilted goods, other odds and ends of a yard sale nature as we have them, and to drop off any donations YOU'd like to make.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pam's Tiny Art Show

You've got thirteen days to get together a tiny art masterpiece to enter into Auntie Pam's Tiny Art Exhibit and Auction on March 22, 7 pm.  It will benefit the new library and even if you don't make a piece, we hope you will come to the party she is throwing and think about bidding on a piece.  We had a lovely time last year, and bought several beautiful little pieces of our community members' work.  And she raised almost a thousand dollars for the library in the process.

Pam has done a lot to support the library fundraising and we want to thank her for her help.  And help her back.  We are working to get foundation money this year, but money from the community continues to help, especially when we factor in the inflation factor for the original building plans.  (Which we got a fairly firm number this week from the architect...about $50,000 extra, assuming we're ready to go by January 2015.)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The New Library Project

Below is the brief summary of our new library project that we use to give potential funders a quick look at what we are doing and have done.  In case you know anyone or any institution (friends with a family foundation? former employers? philanthropic friends or relatives?) that might be interested in helping us, feel free to forward this to them.

 Brief Description of Point Roberts Library Renovation Project:
  1. We propose to remodel a building owned by the Pt. Roberts Park and Recreation Commission to expand the library from a 900 sq. foot to a 2,500 sq. foot facility which will provide sufficient space to meet the expanded services (especially digital) that libraries must provide and that are especially needed in a community as isolated as is Point Roberts (see below for detail).
  2. We have a Feasibility Study and design prepared by Whatcom County Architect David King, who has worked extensively in library design in the County.
  3. We have a Memo of Understanding between the Friends of the Library, the Pt. Roberts Park and Recreation Commission, and the Whatcom County Library Services that specifies that the Friends group will raise $500,000, the Park and Recreation Commission will oversee the remodeling of their building, and the Whatcom County Library Services will provide appropriate staff, equipment, and services to operate the library, including payment of utilities.  This MOU--which extends for 3 more years--will be converted to a legal contract within the next year.
  4. Over the past two years, the Friends of the P.R. Library has raised $320,000 toward this goal.  We have done this entirely within the Community, and this year we are turning toward state government and private foundations in hopes that we will be able to obtain the remaining $180,000.
  5. The Feasibility Study and the Memo of Understanding, as well as our IRS 501c3 status determination, are all posted on our website,

[Context: Point Roberts is an exclave in Washington State.  A peninsula of less that 5 sq. miles, with a resident population of under 1,500, the community is too small for any kind of self-governing status. The Point is an isolated area of the U.S./Washington State attached to Canada.  In order to reach the mainland U.S. (as well as the County and State of which we are a part), residents here must drive approximately 40 miles and cross two borders.  Our isolation from the rest of the County and the rest of the State makes it difficult to gain support, e.g., from major businesses because we have none operating here other than indirectly.  We have no reliable cell phone signal and the current library provides the only community wi-fi service.  On the other hand, it is a remarkably beautiful place to live.]

For additional information, contact judy ross at

Sunday, February 2, 2014

2013 Year End Report

Thanks to Tor, Judson, and Kristen, we now have 8 books up; more to come!

Here is our 2013 Year End Summary of the New Library Fundraising Project (It will also be posted on our website:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

To Whom Do You Make Out a Check?

Because the Friends of the Point Roberts Library is now an independent 501c3 group and able to issue tax exemption certificates for donations, checks no longer need to be made out to the Whatcom Library Foundation.  Instead, you can just make them out to FOPRL/Friends of the P.R. Library, with 'building fund' on the memo line.  We'll be getting some new forms soon, but for the moment, you'll have to rely on your memory.  Or check this blog post!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Friends Get Their Charitable Status

This week, the Friends of the Point Roberts Library heard from the IRS that we had been approved for 501(c)(3) status, which means that we can now issue our own IRS tax exempt receipts.  We applied over a year ago, so it was a long time coming and we are very grateful to the Whatcom County Library Foundation for providing that charitable tax exempt status for us for the past two years.  Now we can do it ourselves!  A step forward.