Rendition of new library

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

Saturday, July 28, 2012

At the Market, Yet Again

A hot, sunny market day drew a bunch of vendors and a lot of visitors to Point Roberts down to the Community Center center to the Saturday Market.  I was there talking about the new library plans and offering people a way to make donations.  (Sort of like, 'put money in this jar.')    By and large, I asked people as they came by whether they were cottagers or day visitors and most were cottagers.  Very few people I actually knew from the permanent resident crowd.  They all seemed pretty cheerful, on vacation time, kids and grandchildren in tow and happy to say good things about libraries.  But then, who really doesn't like a library?

Today, we had lots of handmade premiums to go with donations: hand-knit scarves and hats, quilted bookmarks, Point Roberts postcards, soft-and-light bracelets made from fabrics, jars of homemade jam, etc.  All made here in P.R. and donated to the library to help with fundraising.  And, we had raffle tickets for a new/in-the-box 32" flatscreen, color TV with all the latest technologies, which was given for library fundraising.  All in all, people contributed about $500 to the new building fund today, while the Friends of the LIbrary made about the same amount from its booksale.  All of which gets matched by the $20,000 matching grant (good to the end of August).

Where are we on the matching gift?  Last week, this community had raised $7,500 toward the $20,000 matching gift, and by today, that's more like $9,500, and we still have over a month to contribute the remaining $10,500.  We're pretty much on schedule with this, it seems to me.  And very grateful to all those who are contributing.

Next weekend, we'll be at the Arts and Music Festival (Lighthouse Park) with the TV raffle tickets (the drawing will be on Sunday at the end of the day).  Tickets are $10 each or 3 for $25.  And there'll be a few other things to tempt you, including some small portrait quilts of Point Roberts.  Come by, say hello, pick up a donation card, win a TV, buy a quilt: whatever...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Near End of the Month Status

W're getting close to a total of $28,000 in donations for the new library.  In July alone, the FOPRL fundraising group has raised $7,300 to apply to the $20,000 matching grant.  Another five weeks to get all that $20,000 matched.

Drop by the Saturday market, or the Saturday night movie at Brewsters this week and contribute to the cause.  Anything you donate will be doubled automatically!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Funny Moment

I was over at the library briefly today to take some books back.  Friday afternoon, around 2:30.  Four people sitting at the table with seating for four, their various electronic devices in hand.  Another person working a foot or two away from them on the public computer.  I just felt compelled to point out that they needed a new library with more room.  They looked up, as one, smiled, and nodded their heads. We were as one!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Loving the Library

I love our library, and when I think that 5 other small rural communities in Whatcom County have only a bookmobile, I am especially grateful to the people of Point Roberts who figured out we really needed to have our own library back in the forties.

When I take our campaign for an improved library to the Saturday Market, it is clear that lots of other people love our library too.  And they appreciate the desire to improve it by getting the Julius Firehall renovated.  People often say, 'That's great that it will be right next door."  Of, "I really love the idea of sitting in the patio in the summer and reading."  Or, "So nice to have more space for the children's library."  And they usually ask, next, "What will go into the library space in the Community Center when you get the new library built?"  That's up to the Park and Recreation Board, but what I most frequently hear is a historical museum.  And that is from people other than the members of the Historical Society.

Pt. Roberts, one of the oddest places I've ever been to and certainly the oddest place I've ever lived:  where else can you have a border guard selling art prints, an elderly lady selling hand-made quilted bookmarks to support the library fund, and a grocery store checker selling Avon products and nice plants, all together at the Saturday Market while dozens of Canadians and Americans, children and dogs all roam around.  With the occasional bicycle riders zooming through the crowd?

Pt. Roberts has a complex and wonderful history as well as a complex and wonderful current story.  Getting our renovated library up and running is a important part of our current story, and everyone in the community can be a part of that story.

Pick up a donation card at the library!  And remember that all donations in July and August are doubled because we have a matching grant up to $20,000.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


It's been 11 days since we announced the beginning of the new $20,000 matching gift and thus far we have $6,000 in new funds which will be matched.  About 50 more days to find the next $14,000, so I would remind you that if you think you can contribute any amount, this would be a very good time to do it.

There's a show at the Blue Heron this month (fiber art by Joyce Wensley) which includes a very witty piece that Joyce has put on silent auction to benefit the the Library Building Fund campaign.  The final price paid by whoever wins that auction will also be included in the matching campaign, so think about joining that, as well.

And there's an outdoor movie night at Brewster's this Saturday night.  And the Friends of the P.R. Library is doing a Big Book Sale in front of the library this Saturday (10 to one) which will also benefit the building fund and involve the matching funds.    And, finally, we'll be there at the Saturday Market with donation cards and book marks and Point Roberts postcards and knit goods and excellent conversation/discussion about the new library.  A sunny day, we expect, beaming upon us all and our works!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Up to $16K

The Saturday Market individual donor contributions last weekend have joined up with the Bookmarks Fund contributions to produce another $1,000 dollars for the New Library Building Fund.  So the Showers of Gold quilt will receive two additional squares because of the Matching Gift fund.  That means we now have $16,000.  But that Matching Fund still has $19,000 dollars to be matched.  Join us and double your contributions during July and August.  Perhaps these months will be as spectacular as the fine fireworks celebration and ambitious parade that we had on the 4th.

About the bookmarks:  They are about 2"x7.5", stiff but not hard, and are one-of-a-kind.  More to the point, they are handmade, fabric, quilted bookmarks.  If you are not engaged in e-reading--where they are useless, except for their visual and tactile beautifulness--these bookmarks make books more interesting just because they are pretty beautiful.  Now, we may take this with a small grain of salt because I am the one who makes them, but still...  They're pretty beautiful.  And they feel good in your hand.

I started a few months ago with about 50 of them that a friend and library supporter took up to the B.C. Library Association Conference where, to my delight and encouragement, she sold 20 of them.  I was encouraged because, although the conference was filled with library people, they had no particular reason to support the Point Roberts Library.  So, I concluded, they liked the bookmark.

Since then, we have had the bookmarks at the P.R. Library, at The Blue Heron (thank you, Kitty!), and at the Saturday Market.  For a $10 library donation, you get a very fine bookmark.  They make super, small gifts for someone you need to give a small gift to; at least if they read regular books.  (And we hope they all do.) And it's a way to support the library on a small scale, if a larger scale is not available to you at this moment.

Four hundred dollars worth of bookmarks have now gone out into the world.  They have been replaced by others, different all of them: find the one you especially like next time you're in the library or at The Blue Heron.  And, the matching fund makes your $10 bookmark donation worth $20 to the Building Fund, regardless of where you buy it.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

First Challenge

Raising money for any public project is going to involve asking people for money and maybe even from people you don't know.  For most of us, this is a pretty big challenge.  It is somewhat easier, I find, if you are giving donors something back, as public radio in the U.S. long ago discovered: a quilted bookmark, admission to a movie or lecture, a ticket on a raffle item, a premium, as these things have come to be called.  (I'd like to sail off on a discussion of why that word has risen to the top in this context, but that's probably for another time, another place.)

But the concept of the premium has always seemed a little strange because in the context of soliciting donations, what one is depending upon, what the fundraiser is appealing to is people's capacity for and willingness to act with generosity.  And if you are getting something in return, it does seem more like a commercial transaction than an act of generosity.  But I expect there is a place, in getting a job done, for many different strategies.

This Saturday, at the Saturday Market (held indoors again because of rain), I got to try a middle strategy, the Matching Challenge Gift.  In this case, a donor has agreed to match, up to $20,000, all the new money we raise for the new library  between June 30 and August 31.  That would be roughly $2,200 a week for the next nine weeks.  So, the pressure is on.

It was a frenzied day at the market because the vendors were pretty much all in the hallway of the Community Center.  That means it was noisier and thus harder to talk to people at all; that there was less space, so I didn't have all my premiums on display; and that I had to explain not only why they ought to make a donation but ought to do it now or pretty soon.

I have been impressed, each time I've been at the Saturday Market during the past weeks, with people's willingness to talk about the new library and how it will work and what it will mean for us in the community to have this kind of access to new technologies as part of going to the library.  Yesterday, I was even more impressed with their demonstration of generosity.  In barely two hours, people offered the community almost $500 toward this short-term goal, gifts ranging from a dollar to a $150.  And it clearly mattered to those donors that there was a matching fund: Those $455 dollars turned as we spoke into a total of $910 because of the generosity of the Matching Challenge donor.  Which almost gets us to another golden square on the Golden Showers Donation Quilt.

When one generous act meets and/or inspires another generous gift, it doesn't feel at all like a transaction, but instead...well, it feels like the way most of us want to feel in our days here in our community.  It feels like we are working together on a project we want for ourselves, for our families, and for the future of Point Roberts.  And that doing so is fun...and safe.

So, there is now left 8 weeks and 6 days to let your generosity meet the matching donor's generosity.  If you think you will be able to and would like to donate money to the library fund this year, this would be a very good time to do so.  If we are able to meet this challenge, by the end of August we will have $54,000.

 You can drop off your donation (U.S. or Canadian dollars) at the library's front desk.  Checks should be made out to Whatcom County Library Foundation, for the Point Roberts Library Building Fund.  If you want to mail it, instead, the Foundation's address is on the right hand column of this blog, or the P.R. Library's address is P.O. Box 970, P.R., WA 98281.  Just do it before August 31.  Please.