Rendition of new library

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

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Construction Ahead!

The title isn't a warning, but it is something of a mayday! call.  Here's where we are now.

Last week, we received 5 bids on the new library construction project.  The bids were somewhat higher than expected, but the two lowest are within our budget, with a big caveat: there are some tasks that need to be completed and that will cost money, but that are not within the contract bids.  We need a new septic tank, some project management, movement of both the water meter and the fire hydrant, landscaping when the job is done, carpets, and maybe water sealing the slab.

The Park and Rec District has agreed to cover the costs of asbestos/hazardous waste removal; Whatcom County Library Services is looking to cover air conditioning, but the other non-contract services need to be funded by the Friends of the Library.  And--this is the mayday! part--we don't have much time, because the bids are valid only until September 23.  By that date, Park and Rec must choose to accept one bid or turn them all down.

What is on our plate right now is the need for $60,000.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that two local residents already have, together, offered to match the first $30,000 donated.  That means the plate needs only $30,000 by September 23.  We think, we hope, we pray that's doable given the substantial support the community has offered over the past years to get this funding together.

We are out talking to individuals, groups, and businesses, asking for their help, but first of all we are talking to you, to the friends of the library: the people who know the kind of difference that a good library makes in a small community.  We have only two choices right now: to raise the $60,000 or to give up on the project but we don't think this community is ready to give up.

If you can join with us and make yet another donation to the new library, please drop your check (made out to FOPRL) off at the library (during open hours) before September 23 or mail it to FOPRL, PO Box 970, Point Roberts, WA 98281.  (If you have questions, ask Rose in the library or call me in Point Roberts, x3180.)

--Judy Ross, for The Friends of the Point Roberts Library

Friday, May 19, 2017

Saturday: Big Book Sale for the Library

Tomorrow, Saturday, May 20, from 10-3 there will be a used book sale at the Community Center.  Since it looks like we're going to get summer, come down and pick up your summer reading at bargain prices!  All proceeds to the library fund.

If you have books to donate, bring them down to the Community Center today around 3 pm when the books will be set up for tomorrow.

Friday, March 31, 2017

It Looks Like We are Done Fundraising for the New Library

BIG NEWS! The new Memo of Understanding was signed March 30, 2017 by the Friends, Whatcom County Library Services, and the P.R. Park and Recreation District. WCLS has offered a contribution of up to $160,000 to complete the building costs (adding to the final $140,000 raised in the last few months by the Friends), and Park and Rec will supervise the construction process. Permitting is almost completed and the construction money is in the bank (and in a few remaining pledges that will arrive in April). Next, the project goes out to bid. Thanks again and always to everyone, every agency, every business, every foundation, every "yes" voter, and, well, just everyone who helped us get to this point. You make this a community that cares about books, reading, libraries, for now and for the foreseeable future! I'm smiling; I hope you are, too. --Judy Ross, for the Friends of the Point Roberts Library, all of them.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Reporting In on Levy Donations

In the midst of a week of too much snow in too many places, we've received about a dozen checks for our 'levy donation' campaign (goes through march). Because we are asking for relatively small donations ($50/$100,000 assessed property value), we're going to need a lot of them, and the first $34,000 dollars will be matched. 

We did receive from a very generous and civic-minded Point Roberts couple the second installment of their earlier $25,000 pledge, which is looking very good in the bank account. 

Remember to drop your 'levy donation' off either at the library or the postoffice (PO Box 970, p.r., 98281). Hope you're back to normal February! --Judy Ross

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Now's the Time

The February All Point Bulletin has a FOPRL New Library column with a longer version of fundraising progress (p. 13).  So, if this isn't clear enough, I send you there.

We're aiming to raise the $300,000 that the levy would have produced, and we're asking that all the library supporters here on the Point donate the amount they would have paid in additional property taxes IF the levy had passed with 60% of the vote.  (As you probably remember, it had 55% yes votes, but required 60%).  AND, we have initially a $34,000 matching grant offered by the Fundraising Committee to get that off to a good start.

We need to gather this money quickly so that we can still get the building contract out to bid in the spring.  Immediately after the election's unhappy results for the library, we received commitments of over $100,000. from a small number of generous residents.  In the two months since, that total grew to almost half of what we need (counting all the cash and pledge commitments in hand.)   We are talking with WCLS about support from them with respect to at least some of that second half, but first we need the broader community to step up.  If you now donate to FOPRL what you would have paid in additional property taxes if the levy had passed, you would be donating $100 for every $200,000 of your property assessment value.  That is: $50, for $100,000 assessed value, $100 for $200,000, $150 for $300,000, $500 for $1,000,000, etc.  Your donation is tax deductible in the U.S.

If you can donate more than that (since at this time of year, we will be challenged to reach all the full- and part-residents), please do so.  Leave your donation at the library, or mail it to FOPRL, P.O. Box 970, Point Roberts, WA 98281.  We need this new library for the community and for the future.  These are difficult times for many right now, but joining with your friends and neighbors in getting these funds raised and this library built is a commitment to a wonderful outcome for the community, not least a sparkling new library on Gulf Road. There, we can all participate in the educational and cultural garden that defines a library, a library that this community will have joined together to build.

Please mention this to your friends, neighbors, and members of groups you belong to whom we may not have otherwise reached.  This has been a long project, but we can get it done now.  Thanks for all the support you have provided over the past 5 years, and for your help in this next short run.

--Judy Ross, for the Friends of the Point Roberts Library

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Were Working on this Funding Problem. Want to Help?

Sorry to be so slow in getting information out, but i'm waiting for other players to decide how they can help with the library. I can tell you that a half dozen or so very generous supporters have contributed, in total, more than $100,000 to give us a terrific start toward the $300,000 we're going to need to make up for the failed levy. And next week, I'll be going to WCLS to get their advice and, if possible, help. Jack Louws (Whatcom Co. Executive) wrote a very supportive section of his Year End Report in the January All Point Bulletin, pointing out how much Point Roberts Library supporters and true friends had done toward getting this new library funded. It was nice to have his recognition. We're all working on this and when I have more specific news, I'll be back to you. In the meantime, if you're inclined to make a donation, we will happily add it to that $100,000+ I mentioned above.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Next Act

Almost a month since election day and the truly unhappy news that the new library levy put forth by the Park and Recreation District had failed to reach the 60% of votes required by Washington law. Alas, I believe it was the only levy that failed in Whatcom County.  On the other hand, it did NOT fail to achieve a majority+ of votes: over 55% of voters did vote to approve the levy which would have required an average property owner payment of $100 for one year in order to build a new library for Point Roberts.  A library that would have served our community well for decades.

But, what's done is done.  There are two ways forward: first, those of us at FOPRL could just say, "well, the voters have spoken and that's that."  But I don't think that's going to happen because although the voters have voted, the majority of the voters also spoke; and the majority of people in Point Roberts spoke even earlier when FOPRL received many hundreds of individually-identified donations.  FOPRL feels a deep commitment both to those who already donated over a half-million dollars to build a new library at the site of the Julius Firehall, to those who supported the levy, and to our own view of the community's real need for a new, centrally-located, larger, and appropriately outfitted library that will serve us and those who come after us well into the 21st Century.

At the moment, we are working on next steps forward.  We have met with the Park and Recreation Commission and with Whatcom County Library System, our two partners in this project, to review the options for a plan to move this project forward as originally intended.  It has a bunch of moving parts, but we hope to be able to get it finalized by January (given the demands of the holiday season).  We will have to do some further fundraising, of course, but we have already received some encouraging offers of significant help.  And we would be happy to receive more offers, of course!  Just call me.

So, that's it for the moment, but stay tuned!  The Board of the Friends of the Point Roberts Library, and especially Ed and I personally, extend our great thanks for all you have done for this project over the last 5 years.  We look forward to completing this new library which will mean so much to us all when it is finished, and mean even more perhaps because it has been a challenge that we will have overcome together.  A library is a community treasure and we believe we will have that renewed treasure, soon.

--Judy Ross
President, Friends of the Point Roberts Library