Rendition of new library

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

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Big News!

The community has received significant donations for the new library project.  Two members of the FOPRL Library Fundraising Committee have recently demonstrated not only their belief in the creation of a new library but also their willingness to make a tangible commitment to that belief.  Not only 'talking the talk,' they are 'walking the walk.'  The FOPRL has recently received two donations of $5,000 each.  The first was from Jean Barrington and Curt Bush, and the second from Dorothy and Darrel Sutton.  That raises our current total donations to $14,000, which is pretty great for this early in our fund-raising career.

We look forward to finding ways to involve every member of our community in this gathering together of enough funds to begin this renovation project soon.  I'm kind of looking forward to sitting in the New library patio next summer, but I'll probably have to have a little more patience.  In any case, the community should know that all the members of the Friends' Fundraising Committee are thinking about ways to make this happen and acting upon those thoughts.  We hope you are thinking about acting, too.

Here is where we are now with those additional ten thousand-dollar funding units:  14 squares filled; only 154 more until we have achieved the first third of this funding goal.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Going to the Movies

There's a variety of ways to get money for a project like the new Point Roberts library.  There are local, state, or government funds.  There are business funds for community involvement.  There are charitable foundations/groups (the 501(c)3 tax exempt groups) who give out grants for worthwhile projects; these groups range  from very small foundations who give only small grants, to ones like the (Bill) Gates Foundation who can give enormous grants.  There are private citizens who donate anything from $5.00 to $50,000 dollars.  And there are local businesses who provide various kinds of support to local projects, ranging from giving them discounts on supplies to sponsoring special events.

These last two groups (private local donors and local business support) are very important to all the other groups because it is a way of demonstrating whether a project has local community support.  If your own residents are unwilling to give you any money, if your own local businesses are unwilling to provide some aid, why should the Bill Gates Foundation or the U.S. or Washington State government get involved?  The big donors are looking very carefully to see whether a project has local money behind it.  Locals don't have to provide all the dollars, but they have to provide some of it before the big donors will get involved.

And that's why, when Joan Roberts of Brewster's, offered to put on a series of outdoor summer movies in the yard at Brewster's, with donations to the new library being the price of admission, the Fundraising committee recognized that the offer was a very big deal.  A local business had stood up, early in the game, and said, "I want to help, and here's what I am willing to do."  Some businesses might just offer money, which is great; and others might offer to put on event, as Brewsters is doing, which is equally great.  But whatever is offered is really important, even more than the actual number of dollars involved.

THANKS to Brewsters for stepping forward.  The first movie night was 3 weeks ago, and it raised almost $400 for the Library Fund.  And that $400, along with $92 from the Parks Department's Wine and Cheese Reception a couple of weeks ago, has taken us up to $4,000 in local donations.  The second got rained out, but the next one is next Saturday night, the 30th, at dusk.  If it's not wet or cold, it's a fun evening, but bring your own chairs and a shawl/blanket, maybe.

I've put together a small quilt to track the donations as they come in, from whatever sources.  Using the idea of 500 donors at $1,000 each getting us to our half million dollar goal, the quilt has colored/decorated 2-inch square blocks, each one representing $1,000.  There will be three such quilts over time, but the first one will track the first 168 thousand-dollar worth of donations.  We've got a total of 4 of them as of last week.  And here's the quilt (which will be kept on a wall somewhere over at the Community Center and I'll post photos of it here regularly as well.  Mostly, right now, it's black flannel.  But it's got four squares, representing $4,000.  And it will have more, very soon.  Even unto 168 of them.

Quilt with 4 Squares= Four Library Fundraising Units (LFU's)=$4,000

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Country Mouse Goes to the City

I rarely leave the Point, even for Tsawwassen, but last Sunday I went to North Vancouver and unto the North Van Library.  My Gracious!  That's some library: banks of public computers for users, special glassed in rooms where people could study together (and thus talk and not bother others), other special rooms of exquisite quiet with only tiny keyboard tapping, yet more rooms with multiple love seats where a parent and child could sit and read a book together.  It was simply amazing.  Not just books and reference and checking in and out at all.

Of course, we're not the size of North Van so we're not going to be able to have all of those amenities: but we could have a little art show like they were having (which was why I was there), we could have a comfortable chair or two, we could have a special room for meetings, we could have a children's section that was big enough for both the children and their parents with maybe at least ONE love seat.  And we could have not multiple banks of public computers but more than one public computer.  And a table and chairs where you could sit with your own laptop or netbook or tablet if you are so lucky to have one.  And windows that open onto the trees that are the basic visual resource of Point Roberts (not, alas, that open onto the ocean: wrong siting for that).

At the North Van library, I was reintroduced to how wonderful a library can be just from an aesthetic viewpoint, but also what a spectacular community asset it is.  Let me tell you,  on a Sunday afternoon, almost all of those love seats were filled, those tables were occupied, those computers in use.  In North Van, they're probably wishing they had more of those things.  Here we're still wishing we had a few of those things.  But we can have them if, as a community and as individuals, we get behind this project to raise a half million to renovate the Julius Firehall.

And, incidentally, we're up to ***4*** people of those metaphoric 500 donations of $1,000 each.  More of that, however, in the next post.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

At the Saturday Market

We have decided to participate in the Saturday Markets this summer as a way of talking to the community about the Library Fund-Raising Project.  This means, mostly, that I go sit at a table for 3 hours and try to corral people to talk to me about what we are doing.

I did figure out that at the very least, we need to know what people know about all this stuff by conducting some informal surveys.  Thus, at the first market, I asked as many people as I could (about 65) whether they knew that we were fund-raising for a new library, and whether they lived full- or part-time in Point Roberts or, by contrast, were day visitors.  To my surprise, 50 of the 57 residents/cottagers did know.  They might not have known about it in detail, but they knew it was underway.  Not surprisingly, none of the day visitors knew about it.

But after a few minutes conversation, all 65 people knew it, and had seen an architect's drawing of what it will look like, and knew it would be built right next door.  And some people spent more time talking about the project and a few people gave us a $10 donation and got a hand-made quilted bookmark for their generosity.  And a lot of people took away a donation card.

This week, there were fewer people at the market--the weather was really unpleasant.  But we pluckily continued our survey work, asking people about whether they knew that the library provided free Wi-Fi access 24/7 to anybody who was in the building or even in the parking lot.  Only 5 of the 25 people we talked to knew about the Wi-Fi, and 2 of them had just noticed the sign as they came into the building that minute.

I would prefer it if we had become the first wireless community in the U.S., but we didn't.  Short of that, the Library's willingness to provide us all with wireless access is my second choice of good community services.  For most of us who roam the internet casually, wi-fi access is what we have at home.  But there are lots of people who don't have that access in their homes, and when I am sitting in the hallway on Saturday Market Days, I am happy to be able to use WCLS wi-fi to connect me with the world.

Next market day, come by and see what I want to ask you!  And look at the drawing and the bookmarks and whatever else we have hustled up as donation premiums.  We always have the bookmarks (as does the Blue Heron), but this past Saturday we also had lovely and soft knit scarves and hats and charming little kids wool socks, thanks to the generosity of Eleanor Genron.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Asking People for Money

For me, probably one of the worst tasks in the world.  People, in my experience, are not particularly charitably minded.  Or, maybe they are, but they like to and have mostly already picked their charity and I and my causes are probably not it.  I remember as a Brownie, having to go door-to-door, asking people to buy Girl Scout cookies.  Many, many people said, "No, thank you."  And I might have appreciated the 'thank you,' but it was a discouraging business because it felt so personal.  As a result, I have bought Girl Scout cookies or whatever else kids were selling every time I have been asked.  And in recent years, no one has even asked.  Ah, but that's a different story.

But, I figure, if it has to be done, if I have to ask people for money, best to start with friends.  The first fund-raising for the new library came when I asked the P.R. quilt group to make and raffle some quilts to fund the renovation.  I've been a member of the quilters since almost the beginning, 15 or so years ago, back when we made the Community Quilt that is in the main hall at the Community Center.  One of the things that the group has always had a lot of fun doing was making group quilts that went to the community, so it definitely wasn't a hard ask to get them to make the four quilts they settled on.  The business of selling the tickets was a little dicier: I think we'd all had more of the Brownie Cookies experience than I expected, but we managed to carry it off by holding an event in February, The Fiber Arts Festival, where we both sold a lot of tickets and picked the quilt winners.  We had been selling tickets for several months previous to that, as well, including two very long outdoor sessions at the International Market in the winter where mostly Canadian shoppers were very generous in their ticket buying.

And, at the end of it all, The Quilt Group presented the Building fund with over $1,600.00, and that was the beginning.  Over the intervening months, up until now, we have mostly been dealing with things other than direct fund-raising.  Nevertheless, what with one thing and another, that $1600 has been joined by another $1800 worth of individual donations, and there we are with $3,400.

There is still a long road ahead.  Jean Barrington once commented that if 500 people each gave us $1,000, we would be done, would have the money we need.  I keep that in mind.  I believe there are 500 people here who would certainly be willing to give us $1,000 each, but many of them don't have a spare thousand.  But others do and I can't believe those people don't believe in libraries.  So, I think to myself, $3,400: that's the equivalent of almost 3 & 1/2 people who have given us a thousand each.  Only 496 & 1/2 people more to go.  That's the mantra.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Getting Started

After 66 years, we really need a new library space: one big enough and strong enough to provide the needs that libraries now respond to.  Seventy years ago, when I was a kid in the library, all the library provided were books on shelves, librarians to check the books in and out, a special 'Reference' section of books, and tables where you could sit and read the reference books which couldn't be checked out.  You could manage those needs for quite a few people in quite a small space.

Now, along with everything else that has been made different by the new electronic world, libraries need even more space for people to get access to all that information via computers, and you need more electricity to accommodate those computers.  Those are the two biggest practical needs that a new library will provide us: space and electricity.

In addition, the library is increasingly a source for community programs of various sorts: not only little kids reading hour programs (which they've always provided), but bigger kids programs, and adult programs of various sorts (there's even a knitting group that meets at our library).  As the schools are increasingly operating on tight budgets and reduced programs, libraries will be picking up some of those educational needs, but not without enough space to have more than two or three people at a time in a group.  (Take three friends to our children's library and ask yourself what you could do in that tight a space for more than a few minutes, for example.)

The Julius Firehall, right next door to the Community Center, is the site of the proposed new library.  It is just as convenient as the current library, but with a meeting room, lots of electricity, places to sit in the library proper with your own computer using the Library's wi-fi, more actual computers for us to use in the library.  There are schematic drawings in the current library that show you how this all will work.  It will certainly be an aesthetic improvement in every way.

The cost of renovating the building will be somewhere in the area of a half million dollars.  It is possible that we can get some substantial part of that from government or from foundations.  But to get that support, it is absolutely necessary that the community itself show substantial support by donating to the project.

We're just beginning that process, but we already have a lot of projects going and some money coming in.  Next post, I'll tell you more about both those things.  For now, you will find information about how to donate on the upper right column on this blog.  And, if you want to join the fund-raising committee  (we definitely need more help), write me (judywross at

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I love it!

Beautiful, isn't it? I love the design of the purposed new library - lots of windows, which means lots of light; an outdoor patio, a lounge area (and rumor has it, maybe even a fireplace)! Can't you just imagine curling up with a good book or magazine on a rainy day in this library? Ahh!
To support that dream, we are having outdoor movies this summer at Brewster's in the yard.
This week's movie is for Dad's - Indiana Jones and the Lost Crusade. It is reviewed as the best of the series. What a treat; a movie under the stars with dad - make plans now to see it Saturday, June 16th. The movie begins at dusk, admission with a donation to the library building fund. Take Dad to the Movies!!