Rendition of new library

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

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Point in the Snow

This was taken a couple of days ago, but it's even more now.  The snow, by contrast, is even less....

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Big Christmas Gift for the New Library

Point Roberts' International Marketplace has offered to do a 'roundup' program for the new library.  Checkers are now asking all customers if they would like to 'roundup' their bill's total to the nearest dollar amount, with that less-than-one-dollar amount going to the new library fund.  Then, the International Marketplace will match the total amount up to $2,500.

If this program works as we hope, that $5,000 will easily get us very close to our $300,000 goal, and we are very grateful for the market's generous offer.  I hope you, too, will generously be willing to roundup when you get your chance at the market.  I was in line today with 5 other people and every one of them (plus me!) said, "Yes.'  When I thanked them, one lady replied, 'Who doesn't like a library.'  Who indeed?

The first day of this program was Tuesday, 17th December.  I'm not sure how long the management is going to have it run, but over $200 was raised on Day 1.  So I hope you will be able to join the other shoppers in these small individual contributions that turn into large aggregate contributions.  Also, maybe consider thanking those who say 'yes'  when you are in line with them.

Beyond that, please thank the checkers.  They are the key to this working.  There are signs all over the place, but at this time of year, people are sufficiently distracted to miss an additional sign.  Furthermore, it is one more thing for the checkers to take care of.  I'm hoping we'll all be thanking them for their willingness to go that extra step.

Judy Ross
for the Friends of the Point Roberts Library

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Post Craft Fair

Well, we're almost a week out from the craft fair, which was busy enough, but probably not as well attended as last year.  Not such great weather and too great lines at the border, we think.  The New Library Fund is about $1,500 richer now between the selling of donated goods and the selling of Library Donation Cards for Christmas Gifts.  And that is matched, of course.

And then we have also received another half dozen or so generous gifts, all matched, as well. (Including a one thousand dollar donation from our sister committee, the Support Committee of the FOPRL.  I would high-five you if I knew how to do it in writing!)  All that is bringing us to about $290,000, I think.  So we are getting pretty close to the goal for the year, although we are still needing a little push.  If you haven't yet made a donation for this year, we'd be very happy to hear from you in these next two weeks: all donations matched, you'll recall.  And $300,000 the goal.

I want to take this post also to thank all the people who made donations to the library table: Pat Czuszor, Sandy Holland, Carrie Smith, Phillip Joseph, Madrona Yoga Studio, Justin Morgan, Ed Park, Esther Rosenthal, Heidi Baxter (who sold over $200 worth of her needle felted sheep for us!), Laura Vestanen, Joanna Harris, Joan Linde, Linda Bruce, Bev Mar, Terry Rey, Judy Ross, and probably two or three other knitters whose names I never got.  That is what made that $1,500 in sales possible.  Thanks to all of you for your great generosity in helping to make this library a reality.

And a second very big thank you to Margot Griffiths, Maxine Clark, Jane Donaldson, and Louise Cassidy, who helped to keep customers happy throughout the weekend.

Hope your Solstice and Christmas and everything else in these next two weeks are merry and bright, although I personally could pass on the snow.  Next time, 20014.  Upwards and onwards!  

Judy Ross
for the Friends of the Point Roberts Library

Friday, December 6, 2013

Craft Fair Moves Us Along

This Saturday and Sunday is the Point Roberts Christmas Craft Fair.  There was a short, practice session on Friday night to make sure everything was working right, and it appeared to be.  Twenty or thirty people came to the trial and with 20 or 30 crafters about, as well, it was a nice crowd and there was cheese and crackers and wine, and singing and a little shopping, and lots of talking and comparing this year with last year and the years before that.

The Friends of the P.R. Library has a table at the Craft Fair, as it did last year.  It is covered with donations from local people who want to help make our new library appear as fast as possible.  I know most of the fiber arts people, so it is overly representative of fiber crafts, but we also have some other things, including a charming clock made from a Washington State license plate, and five sets of hand-decorated paper clips (you really have to see them to appreciate them), a yoga mat and four lessons at Madrona Yoga Studio, lots of exquisite small, hand-made leather wallets brought to us by my neighbor, and a passel of quilts, quilted things, and knit and felted things, including carrying covers for your new Kindle if you have one or are expecting to get one.  Also, Christmas tree ornaments that are one of a kind.

Despite the fierce cold, we hope you will be able to make your way to the Community Center (Saturday, 10-4, Sunday, 11-3) to see if something Christmas-y might return home with you.  Also, we have Christmas Donation cards through which you can give a gift of a library to the readers on your list; especially the local ones.

We are hoping that this event will help us get to the $300,000 mark that we expect to reach by the end of the year.  Because all the proceeds from our table will go to the Library Fund, the price of everything that people buy at our table will be matched by our year-end matching fund.  Come look, perhaps buy, wish us well, and wish the new library well.

Judy Ross, for the Friends of the Point Roberts Library

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Big Event!

Last night's concert attracted an almost full house at the church and provided a spectacular evening of music for the 80 or so attendees.  Michael Munro (on piano) and Liam Hockley (on clarinet) nearly wore out their instruments respectively, giving us all they had, it seemed.  I don't know that I'd ever heard Berg played before, but I've certainly heard Brahms, and never like this.  A truly impressive experience.

In addition, their performances drew a wonderful donation response from the audience: $2,500 which will be matched by a matching grant for a $5,000 evening.  We are so grateful to these young musicians for their generosity toward our community, and to all those who generously donated last night.

And special thanks to Margot Griffiths, who was the overall organizer of the event, and to Lucy Williams who contributed especially to the early planning but was always there for us when we needed advice.  And to the Church which provided the venue.  I bet the service this morning was infused by the spirit of last night's splendid music.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Great Community Indoor Yard and Baked Goods Sale last Saturday was a great success all round.  The New Library Fund had several tables worth of life's objects and we were joined by others with their own goods.  The attendance was terrific.  My estimate would be somewhere between 200 and 300 people came by (but I have no experience in crowd estimating).  It was pretty steady throughout the six hours and people seemed to be having a good time.  The baked goods and the produce pretty much all went away, and the object goods were also more gone than not by 4 pm, it seemed to me.

By the last bell, the New Library Fund had gained over $1,500 (overall total is now $264,000).  We have several additional items that are out on trial so that number might increase by some.  And we are looking to sell some of the larger objects we still have on P-I or on Craig's List in Vancouver.

We owe thanks to a lot of people who made this day happen:

--Judith Wolfman, who did the overall organizing for the event, ably aided by her crew including Peter Leritt, Don Falk, Margot Griffiths, and Ed Park.

--Kandy Harper, who rounded up the bakers and then managed their excellent baked goods.

--Phyllis Van Sandt, Ron Swalling, and Armene Belless, who worked tirelessly throughout the day, making sure that traffic moved reliably and that goods did too, and that we left the place the way we found it.

--Carol Clark and Carol Fowler, who managed their own tables and then generously gave all their proceeds to the Library Fund.

--Naomi, Andrew and Acadia of the Point Roberts Coop; Heidi Baxter, of Lily the Llama's Garden; and Rhiannon Allen/Arthur Reber who raided their own garden  to bring us all beautiful summer produce even though it is clearly fall.  The beet greens were a particularly wondrous treat for the fall!

--Mark Robbins, who managed the arrangements for using the Community Center

--The other Vendors who joined us, including Barb Remple, Janet Wheeler, Theresa O'Neill, Louise Cassidy, and Nicky Hockley.  It was a pleasure to work with them.

--And, finally, everyone who attended.  It was a lot of fun and we received more than one request to do it again soon.  Probably not very soon because we are going into the winter months now.  But it surely merits being done again.  It was a real community event!

Judy Ross, for The Friends of the Point Roberts Library

Friday, October 11, 2013

Yard and Bake Sale (and Produce, too) Saturday

Just a quick reminder that the Community Indoor Yard and Bake Sale at the Community Center startstomorrow/Saturday at 10 am.  And the doors close at 4 pm.  We set up this afternoon and there's a ton of stuff, any one piece of which might be just what you are looking for: 2 kids' bikes, bench saw, mitre saw, microwave oven, unusual glassware and dishes, hummingbird feeders, 2 baby rockers, CD's, a tent, a set of golfclubs/bag/cart, clothing, a christmas tree and a christmas wreath, hardware and tools (and tool box), an inversion table, a table fountain with polished rocks and an entire table devoted to red things, and another table devoted to free things.  All those things...and more.  

Also a table crowded with the baked goods from Point Roberts' best bakers: sweet and savory breads, cookies, brownies, cakes.  And tomorrow, the produce people will be getting their contributions in: fall produce from the Coop and from Lilly the Llama's garden.

Please come by, if only for a look, a hello, and a cup of tea!  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What October Brings

We've scheduled two events for October to get us through the beginning of the rain and the grey and the wet.

--October 12, 10-4 pm, Community Center.  We're sponsoring an Indoor Yard and Bake Sale at the Community Center.  The Friends will have a few tables with Yard Sale Goods that we acquired from various places over the summer (you need a bench saw or a chop saw, e.g., or a new set of golf clubs with case and cart), and with a few more tables with lots of baked goods that may come be the star of your Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner on that weekend.  Or, if you're not celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving (and why aren't you?  Be Thankful for Canada, too), you may need treats for your own weekend dinner celebrations.  And other people will have tables of stuff, too.

The point of this event is to allow us to extend the good feelings of the Saturday Markets for yet another time before the winter comes upon us all and sends us to our houses or to warmer climates.  Tables are available to anyone who wants to sell stuff ($5/table fee).  But you have to reserve a table ahead of time so we know we have enough space available.  Call me/Judy at -3180, or email me at judywross at  We'll make some money for the new library in the process, but other folks will have their own projects to make money for, and that's good too.  Be a seller or be a buyer, but join us, please.

--October 19, 7 pm, Trinity Lutheran Church. Classical Concert: Professional musicians Michael Munro (piano) and Liam Hockley (clarinet) will be performing Brahms and Berg, in a concert to benefit the new library fund.  Admission by donation (all donations will be doubled by a special matching fund).  For information, contact Margot Griffiths, -2970.  

And you were wondering about our current donation totals?  They are $258,000.  We need another $42,000 before the end of the year, so if you haven't made this year's donation to the new library fund, it would be a very good time to do so.  Make your check out to the Whatcom County Library Foundation, write 'P.R. library fund' on the memo line, and leave it at the Library in the donation jar.  As far as I know, no one ever felt bad about making a donation to a library, and most everyone feels good, when that library comes into existence, knowing that they had a part in bringing it to life.  If you can do so over the next two months, please help this library come into life!

--Judy Ross, for the Fundraising Committee

Friday, September 13, 2013

Starting September and Then Some

I am in deep debt to this blog.  Somehow, I let an entire month go by without getting anything posted.  Partly that was because the summer was so frenetic, but it was not because we were without activities and news.

Such as:

1.  We finished up 8 Community Market sessions, each one bigger than the one before, not only in terms of money raised but in terms of people involved.  By the end, we not only had the "Stand and Be Counted" donation table, but also a Produce cart, a Baked Goods stand with fresh bread and home-made cookies, and a couple of tables with elegant cast-offs/recycles.   Over the summer, this mix of goods produced several thousand dollars worth of donations.

2.  We did three outdoor movies at Brewster's (and we thank Brewster's for making these movie nights possible) which produced about $2,000.
[update: + 2 days at the Arts and Music Festival, for another $900.]

3.  We received donations from Snider and Lynn Vick of the Shell Station for $1,200; over $600 from Auntie Pam's store from her charity consignment clothes program; $3,000 from Nielson's Building Center, and $1,000 from the All Point Bulletin.  In addition, we received donations of $1,000 from Trinity Lutheran Church, $500 from the Crystal Beach Homeowners Association, $500 from the Maple Beach Property Owners Association (and another $190 from various Maple Beach group activities), $190 from the Joke Contest, $260 from the Latin Jazz Concert (via the Church), $500 from last week's Silent Auction.

4.  We have received numerous individual donations in response to the brochures sent out in July, including many in the hundreds and several in the thousands of dollars.

5.  A hundred+ people signed "Piece of the Library" peace flags that now fly on the east side of the Julius Firehall.  See who signed them and who made exquisite little drawings when you come by that parking lot.

6.  Almost 400 people donated $20 each to the Stand and Be Counted Campaign.  All those donations were matched, which produced almost $16,000 to our fundraising totals.

7.  The Book Sculpture began to take shape.  When done (and when we have gathered in all $500,000), there will be 15 books in that stack!  Our thanks to Tor Baxter, Judson Meraw, Jack Lubzinski, and Bob Struthers for their continuing work on this special project.  It measures our success!

8.  Finally, we raffled two quilts over the past few months (a red one and a blue one) and raised about $1,700 on the pair.

(Quilt winners Sylvia and Ken Thomas (on the right) and family members Miles, Kayla, and Stella the dog.)

9.  And that gets us to a September 13 total of $257,000.  It's been a good summer for fundraising and we want to thank everyone involved: everyone who gave us produce and products to sell and who bought them, who attended events, who held us in their prayers and extended their good wishes to this wonderful community project, who made donations, who gave time and energy to get us to this point.  Our most grateful thanks go out to the 600+ people who have made this all happen over the past 20 months.  You are the ones who are making this new library happen!

I hope I have not omitted anyone/anything, but if so, I'll come back and edit if you let me know my omissions.  And I'll be better at posting what's happening as the fall comes in, I promise.

Judy Ross, for the Friends of the Point Roberts Library

Monday, August 5, 2013

Arts and Music Festival

Just a quick note to say that we had a terrific weekend between the Saturday night movie in Brewster's yard and the sale of quilted goods at the Arts and Music Festival: all proceeds for both went to the library.  And then Auntie Pam came out with a second check from her consignment clothes for our cause and IGive sent a second check.  All told, $600 from the movie, $900 from festival, $300 from Auntie Pam and $100 from IGive: $1900.

And add to that a very generous gift of $1,000 from Trinity Lutheran Church in its 100th Anniversary year, and another generous gift of $10,000 from Galen Wood, of Point Roberts (and the $10,000 is matched by our "Founders' Circle matching fund).  What a community: support everywhere you look!

There will be another movie on the evening of August 17th ("Fields of Dreams") and a Latin jazz concert as well on August 18, both to benefit the Library.  We are having some summer!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Outdoor Movies Move Us

Last Saturday night's movie in Brewsters' back yard was a big success.  Not just the movie, but the food, the games, the sociability of it all and, also important, we added just a short of $1,000 for the new library.  What more could we ask for?  We can certainly thank Judith Wolfman (who put the fine evening together with Joan Roberts' aid) and Judith's great crew: Louise and Darryl Cassidy, Maxine and Ron Clark, Liz Otwell and Stephen Falk, Margot Griffiths, Vyna Restell, Melissa Meyer, Don Falk, Peter Laritt, Sarah Wolfman, Aliya Virani, and Ania Tersakian.  And the 100 or so folks who came and enjoyed and contributed in every way to the evening.  And especially the many, many kids!

One of the features was having your picture taken with ET (thanks to the wonders of photoshopping), which was also, of course, the movie being shown.  Here's one of those.

This week (Saturday, 3rd, 7:30 p.m.) you get another chance to join us for an evening of midsummer night's entertainment, including a photo op with Goldie Hawn, I imagine, as well as terrific food, more games, and a showing of "Overboard" with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.  The last outdoor movie, Saturday, August 17th, will be "Field of Dreams," which surely is the appropriate symbol for our (or any) library fundraising project.  Maybe we should have a photo of everyone saying to everyone else, "Good Job!"  Bring a chair and a blanket; it gets cool after sundown.

"And how are we doing?" people often ask.  The answer:  the community that is raising/donating funds for this new library is doing well...$220,000.  But we need another $80,000 by the end of the year.  Please help if you can.  It really will take all of us working together to build this new library.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer Sun

The sun is shining upon us here in July.  Both on our daily lives and on our fundraising.  We got a check from $3,000 from Neilson's Building Center as part of their $10,000 pledge for this year.  Checks from, from the Maple Beach Property Owners Association ($500), from local residents and visitors, as well as many $20 gifts for the "Stand and Be Counted" campaign. (Almost 300 of them so far so if you haven't made the $20 contribution this summer, we would be very happy to have you join those 300 people and remember it will be doubled: those 300 twenties have turned into $6,000 plus $6,000 doubling for a total increase of $12,000.)  The Saturday Market Library Funding folks have talked to many people to explain what we're doing and to encourage them to participate.

Market visitors have also been delighted to see the terrific book sculpture by Tor Baxter, Judson Meraw, Jack Lubzinski, and Bob Struthers.  There are five books in the stack now, but Tor says there will be 15 when we've gathered up all the money needed for the new library.  We're picking the 10 titles to come now, so if you've got a title you'd really, really like to see on one of those books, let us know (the titles are generic, of course).

We've also benefitted from Heidi Baxter's wonderful produce cart at the Saturday Market.  We have been getting all kinds of plants, greens, herbs, and flowers from our generous residents (mostly FOPRL members!).  Craig and Carole's strawberries and mint, Dorothy's striped iris, Shirley's and Rhiannon's lovely fresh lettuces and chard and kale.  I'm forgetting some folks here, because I don't always see who is bringing edibles and flowers in, but we don't forget you in our thanks for helping this produce cart work.  I particularly like it because it is such a cooperative effort.  And we will continue to need that cooperation throughout the summer.

We have raised over $215,000 by this date (July 18) and are looking to find another $85,000 by the end of the year.  We will be needing everyones' help to get there.  And what would that help be?

Obviously, direct donations by check are very welcome.  But we also have three Midsummer Fun Nights at Brewsters (July 27, August 3, and August 17).  These evenings are designed for adults AND kids.  There will be fancy hotdogs for supper, snacks, drinks, games for kids, games for adults, followed by a movie at sundown-ish.  You want to bring a chair and/or a blanket.  Entry is by donation, but all proceeds will go to the Library Building Fund.  Fundraising committee member Judith Wolfman has been working like someone on a mission to make these into memorable summer evenings.  Come, have a good time, and then we'll all look back on these summer evenings this winter and think about those good times and the library that will grow out of them.  The first movie (July 27) will be "ET."

We'll be at the Arts and Music Festival (August 3, 4) at Lighthouse Park with all the regulars plus a nice selection of quilts and quilted goods that have been donated to the library fundraising campaign.  All proceeds to the building fund.  That will include the quilt we are currently raffling ("Night Watcher," 45"x62": a free ticket to anyone who donates at least $20 this summer; drawing at the end of summer.  If you gave $20 earlier, before we began this quilt raffle, you can get a ticket on this quilt for $5.00.)

Also, on August 18, Lucy Williams is putting together a jazz concert in the church garden as a library fundraising benefit.  It will star Jafelin Helten and Locura.  Helten is a singer from Venezuela who specializes in Latina music; Locura is a Vancouver-based jazz trio that frequently performs with her.  Their website is  For this outdoor event, bring a chair, bring a picnic if you'd like, and bring a donation for the library.  We'll be there in the garden from 2-4, and we hope you'll be joining us there.

Lots happening; hope to see you all whenever you can join us.

Judy Ross for Friends of the Point Roberts Library

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Book Sculpture

It was indeed up (by hours) by July 4th, thanks to its intrepid makers, Tor Baxter, Judson Meraw, and Jack Lubzinski.  As you can see, there are currently five books and as we raise more money, more books will appear until the books get up to the top of the sign.
The plan is to have this be used as a way to advertise the way the fundraising is going and then, when we have finished fundraising and have the new library built, to use this as a community sculpture in side the library or maybe in the patio.

And here's a photo of the crew putting it together at the end.  It's in front of the Julius Firehall, the site of the new library, so take a look when you go by.

Thanks, guys, for all the work you've done and for the work still to come.  I'm thinking we might need some big flower pots to set it off?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Present and Future

Three things:

1.  We'll be doing the produce table at the Saturday Market each Saturday from 10-1, at  the Community Center parking lot (west of the building).  If any of you have excess greens, plants, herbs, or whatever (I know, not much range at this time of the year, but last week we had strawberries to sage-which would not be an alphabetical listing), and you would be willing to donate them to the FOPRL, please bring them down during the market.  Lots of visitors were happy to buy all these things last week.  So, the more the better.  You have questions?  Call Judy at -3180.

2.  Book Sale this Saturday at the Community Center (indoors, I think), 10-2.  Lots of new used books; they just keep rolling in and then rolling out, you know?  It's a rare month where somebody doesn't see me somewhere on the Point and ask if I would take a bag or box of books that they're carting around in their car, hoping to run into someone affiliated with the library, I guess.  It's nice to live in a place where people do so much reading, no?

3.  Brewster's and FOPRL are cooperating to present three Midsummer Fun Nights with food, games for kids and adults, and movies this summer.  The dates are July 27, August 3, and August 17.  Round up your visiting relatives and friends and their kids and have a nice outdoor night on the Point.  All proceeds to the new library, of course.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Saturday Market Works for FOPRL and the New Library

We got ourselves yesterday to the first Saturday Market of the season with two  tables: one to solicit donations and one to sell volunteer produce.  Heidi Baxter (who is running a regular roadside stand of produce for the library called "Lilly the Llama's Garden" down at 713 Marine) also organized yesterday's produce sale.  She put out a call for donated produce, and Shirley Cannon, Carol Clark and Craig Jacks, Louise Cassidy, Carol Liaskas, Heidi herself and I responded with various salad greens, herbs, and strawberries(!) (from Craig and Carol).

If you want to help Heidi get this going, either by making produce donations as you have extra or by working at the stand on Saturday, get in touch with Heidi (  Yesterday, the produce brought in $75 (there are no fixed prices: people contribute as they choose).

In addition, we had Sophie Wolfman and Ed Park working a soft sandwich board, encouraging people to donate to the "Stand And Be Counted: $20 for the Library" campaign.  Yesterday involved what we got to be calling the "Seven Treasures Donation."  For $20, you got the pleasure of supporting the library; you got your name in the permanent donation book; you got your $20 matched from a Matching Fund; you got an "I Gave" button; you got a free raffle ticket on the quilt pictured below ("Night Watcher"); you got a free Prayer Flag and could decorate it or just sign your name to it; your prayer flag was immediately placed on the side wall of the Julius Firehall, where we hope great numbers of such flags will fly throughout the summer and many prayers will go skyward; and you received the ceaseless thanks of the Fundraising Committee.  As a bonus, as long as Margot Griffiths' dog Fredo was around, you could pet him.  And, finally, you eventually will get a new library.  That should be worth $20 every week, no?

Fifteen people took us up on this offer, resulting in an increase to our fundraising totals of $600, including the match.  And where are we now?  $210,500, according to my calculations.  And we're aiming for $300,000 by the end of the year.  Come see us next Saturday (10-1).  Same deal, although you might also get a chance to learn to make Lavender Wands.

Extra thanks, this week, to Heidi, Judith Wolfman, Sophie, Ed Park, Margot Griffith and Fredo.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lily's Garden Shop

Here is Lilly the Llama tending her garden store where she sells flowers and vegetables and herbs in order to help raise money for the library.  Her trusty assistants are four pygmy angora goats.  You can find the stand and (inside the fence) Lilly and the goats at 713 Marine Drive.  This past weekend, Lilly raised $30!  At that rate, we might have to start a program to teach them all to read, at the very least.  Thanks to Heidi Baxter for this project.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Getting a Little Help

My 23-year-old granddaughter graduated with honors from UC Berkeley last month.  Pause for applause for her and for those who paid her tuition.  She is a person who--since she first realized she actually was alive--has always wanted to understand how life and the world works.  I was thinking of her the other day, remembering a conversation we had when she was about 4.  She was visiting us in Los Angeles and Ed had promised to do something particular with her when he got home from work at the end of the day.  Five o'clock came and went and right before six, she came to me with a worried look on her face.  She reminded me that Grandpa Ed had promised to do whatever it was when he got home from work and he got home from work at five, but now it was almost six.  What did I think about this?

"Oh," I replied, in the tiresome manner of adults everywhere, "He'll be here soon, I imagine.  Just be patient."

She looked at me with concern and, in the way of a child experienced in preschool, said, "I guess he hasn't got his work done.  Is he," and here her voice became absolutely pained, "maybe a little....slow?  Or, maybe nobody helped him with his work?"

Fortunately, he showed up within minutes and we never had to seriously face whether he might be "a little slow" or without friends to help him.

I was thinking about this because the "Stand and Be Counted" totals are indeed a little slow coming in, although we do have 170 as of today and after almost 6 weeks.  But still.  We are a community of 1300 people/permanent residents and at least 800 of those adults are surely around here in June.  And surely almost every one of them could afford to contribute $20 to a new library.  And then, while I was thinking this, Hosanna!, came into my hands an envelope with a check for $140.  Pat and Michael Birchall, who live here, had sent their $40 in the first week of May.  Now, they had rounded up 7 twenties from extended family members in Texas and Oklahoma who, Pat says, were happy to be helping build a library up here, because, "everybody needs a good library and sometimes they also need a little help to get there."  A couple of brothers-in-law are yet to be heard from, says Pat, but they'll come around eventually.

As will all of us, I imagine.  Because, why wouldn't we?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Way Above Board

Mary Sullivan from East Vancouver won
 Judy's red raffle quilt, and immediately put it to good use.
We sold 37 raffle tickets for Judy's red quilt, netting $925 for the library building fund, and presenting us with about 37 conflicts of interest.  We know most of the people who bought tickets, and wanted them all to win.  As it turned out,  the winner was someone we had not met before, Mary Sullivan from East Vancouver.  She came down to the Point for the recorder concert at Trinity Lutheran Church, and bought her raffle ticket there on the last day tickets were sold.  Good concert, good karma ...

So how did we avoid any bias (or even appearance of bias) in drawing the winning ticket?  Good question.   Answer: high technology and scrupulous monitoring.  We used the statistical program Stata to generate random numbers, and sorted the ticket numbers (1 through 40) into the corresponding random order. 

The program output is in the box on the right.  If you are masochistically curious about how close you came to winning, check the middle column for your ticket number; the nearer the top, the closer you were

To monitor the drawing, we brought in two people of the very highest integrity, who (fortunately) had not bought any raffle tickets themselves.  They are pictured on the left, just after the single computer run that created the list.  "No hanky panky here," they attest.

-- Ed Park, for the Friends of the Point Roberts Library

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Catching Up

I ran into Maureen Meikle in the grocery store today and she asked me how we are doing with the fundraising.  And I figure if Maureen doesn't already know, I must be remiss in getting some of the social networking done in a timely fashion.  So here I am.

First of all, we are now just short of $200,000 (specifically $4k short).  But that four thousand will be coming in from here and there within the month, I expect, as we have several requests out.

Second of all, we have about 160 people who have signed up for the "Stand and Be Counted: Give $20 to the New Library."  That's fewer than we had hoped, but we are pretty good hopers here at fundraising central and by extending it throughout the summer we have given our hopes new hope.  The 160 people have contributed (with the matching funds) $6,400, which is very, very nice to have.  All their names have been entered into the Donation Book of Record.

Third of all, the red quilt for which we have been selling $25 raffle quilts has been won. After selling 37 of 40 tickets, we decided it was time to end the suspense.  We raised $925 and the quilt was won by Mary Sullivan of East Vancouver.  She bought the winning ticket at the recorder concert at Trinity Lutheran Church a few weeks ago.  Rhiannon Allen and Arthur Reber (who were conflict free) presided over the identification of the winning ticket.  There was a second (unadvertised) prize: a couch pillow whose cover was pieced and quilted in the same style as the quilt (but blue instead of red) and it was won by Meg Olson, intrepid newspaper reporter and Mom from right here in Point Roberts.  Here's a picture of Meg and we'll have a picture of Mary after she gets down here to pick up the quilt, we think this weekend.  Our great thanks to everyone who bought tickets.  If it were in my power to have had a quilt for each of them, I surely would have arranged it.

Fourth of all, we are hoping to get the fabulous Tor Baxter-Judson Meraw (and various colleagues)'s book sculpture and its accompanying sign for tracking our fundraising progress in place toward the end of the month.  The "place" for the sign will be on the front of the Julius Firehall; the sculpture will be in front of the Julius Firehall.

Fifth of all, for those of you who are keeping up with the gas station saga: As you may recall, we have received donations for Can-Am ($10,000) and from the Texaco and Chevron stations ($1,000 each).  We met with the Shell station owner this past week and he has pledged at least $1,000 this summer.  And we received a phone call from the USA station management yesterday saying that they had just received our May 18 letter and would be getting back to us.  That's progress and we thank all the station owners for their contributions!

Sixth of all, we will be making a regular appearance at the Saturday Market starting June 22 where we will hope you can join us to decorate and sign with your own name a "Piece of the Library" prayer flag to fly on the side  of the Julius Firehall.  This will involve a $5 donation (many hours and yards of fabric go into making all these flags!), and we hope you and your children and their children will all join in with us to get those prayers and all those flag pieces creating the kind of environment that will enable us to get to our next goal by the end of the year.  That goal would be $300,000.  Help!  In every sense of the word!

Have a good weekend!  ...Judy Ross for The Friends of the P.R. Library

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Denis Horgan, Vice President and General Manager of Westshore Terminals, came down to Point Roberts on May 23, 2013, with a big check in his pocket for the new library building fund.  Here he presents the $10,000 check to members of the fund raising committee: Louise Cassidy, Judy Ross, Margot Griffeths, and Mark Robbins.

Horgan said that he sees Point Roberts and Delta as both part of the same community, and that he welcomes the chance to help build a new library for the Point.  In light of shared history, geography, and activities, the international boundary is, in his view, just a procedural hurdle, not a real divider.  He also acknowledged that coal dust from the Terminal pays no attention to the border.  The Terminal is just completing a $8.5 million dollar upgrade to their dust control system, which should be in operation sometime this month.  "Hope it works," he said.

Libraries in the Future

Sometimes, when I am talking to people about donating to the new library, an individual will say, "Well, we don't really use the library; we just download the books we need.  And, anyway, we won't really need libraries 20 or 30 years from now."  There are a lot of things one can say to counter such views, not least that everybody can't just download whatever they need.  They may not have the money, or the equipment, or the skill to take that route.  They may have 3 or 4 kids who are interested in having dozens of books each.  It is really not uncommon in our own library to see a family checking out 15 or 20 books for the kids.  And it is certainly not uncommon to see a librarian helping someone learn how to download a library e-book or helping them to use the computers in the library that are available for public use.

And given current trends, it looks like ours will continue to be a society in which many people will continue to need help in these ways.  Mark Robbins recently brought an article to my attention.  So if you are one of the people who think we aren't going to need libraries in the future, you might want to read it and consider another view.

--Judy Ross, for FOPRL

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Standing Up Some More

We have, currently, 135 people who have contributed $20 each to the "Stand and Be Counted: $20 for the New Library" campaign.  Great, but not great enough, so we've talked to the donor who is providing the matching gift, and he is willing to continue it throughout the summer.  It's very good to have over $5,500 total from this effort over the past four weeks, but so much better to have a $40,000 total, which we would have from 1,000 such donation.

SO, if you haven't got yourself listed and with an "I Gave" button, the library and Sterling Bank are still the places to go.  Help make those numbers rise and help show that you support this new library!  We'll be at the Saturday Market beginning June 21, and you can get your buttons from us there, too.  As well as "Piece of the library" Prayer Flags.

What are our current total donations with their attached matching funds?  Just under $195,000.  Someone out there with a spare $5,000 just to get that total evened out nicely?  We're expecting our outdoor donation measuring device to be completed mid-June: you'll want to look for it in and on the front of the Julius Firehall.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Good News! And Money!

Several pieces of good news on the new library front:

1.  We have 95 people who have Stood and Been Counted!  (That's $1900 and then, doubled with the matching gift, it's $3,800.)  It's  still a long way from 1,000, but we are working to contact more people directly which is the way it most successfully happens.  We'll have someone at the used book and new plant sale this coming Saturday (18th May) at the Community Center (10-2) and hope to raise that number.  You, too, can help by encouraging friends and neighbors and even family to be sure to get to Sterling Bank or the library to make the donation, and then get the button.  Those who are away can mail a check (made out to FOPRL) and mail it to FOPRL, Box 970, PR, WA 98281 and we'll put an "I Gave" button on reserve for them for when they do get back to the Point.

One person wrote me that, upon hearing of the need for more $20's, she had written her sisters-in-law and her adult children, urging them to get the money to her and she would collect their buttons for them.  That's participation!  Twenty for a library is so little for so much!

2.  The past two weeks, in addition to the $3,800 from the Stand and Be Counted event, we have received a generous $3,000 donation from a local resident, and a $10,000 donation from Westshore Terminals.  All $10,000 donations will be doubled (up to $100,000) and this is our fifth such donation this year.  Sooo, in a very short space of time, our donation totals are up almost $27,000, to an overall total of $194,000.  The $10,000 donations do not need to be from individuals, but could be from a group (homeowners association? extended family? community organization?) and can include previous donations (although only new money is matched).  Thus, if someone/some group previously gave $5,000 and now gave another $5,000, the new $5,000 would be matched and the giver would be included in the Founders' Circle for permanent recognition.

3.  We are nearing the end of the raffle ticket sales for the "Improvisations in Red" quilt.  We are selling only 40 tickets total on this exotic quilt and there are currently only 10 tickets left.  We'll be doing the drawing by the end of the month in any case.  The quilt (for your viewing pleasure) will be on display at the Community Center this Saturday during the used book sale (10-2) and tickets will be available.  Tickets are $25.  It's a one-of-a-kind piece.

4.  In June, we'll be working on "Piece" of the Library Prayer Flags.  You can get a flag for a $5 donation ($2 for kids 12 and under), you can decorate it and then sign your name on it, and we will display them all throughout the summer on the big wall of the soon-to-be new library.  Fly high those flags!  Many of them!

5.  If you have any questions about any of this, write me at

Happy late spring early summer to you all,
Judy Ross
for The Friends of the Point Roberts Library

Monday, May 13, 2013

Standing Up, Giving $20 to the Library

We may not have been clear enough about why getting 1,000 people to join in this event is very important.  Obviously, with the matching fund, it would mean a lot of money: $40,000, which is more than we've ever received in a single month.  But perhaps an even bigger reason is that the foundations and government agencies that we need to go to next year for the last part of our funding want to hear that the community we represent is behind this project.  They don't want to hear that 100 people are very enthusiastic about it: they want to hear that the majority of people in Point Roberts are supportive.  After all, if WE don't support it, why should they?

By focusing on giving $20, the fundraising committee wanted to find an amount that would be easy for almost everybody to contribute: if it was the only contribution that they made to the library, it would be an actual contribution and it would have their name attached to it in the donation book...Which would be a way of documenting the extent of community support.

Right now, May 13, only 65 people have made a contribution.  We are very grateful to every one of them but it is a long way from 1,000.  So, if you haven't been counted, we hope you will seriously consider making the effort to go to the library or to Sterling Bank in the next few weeks and making this $20 contribution so we know and the people/institutions/agencies who can help us most in raising very large donations at the end of this fundraising will know that Point Roberts supports a new library for all of us, for our children, and for all those who will come after us.  A library isn't a luxury: it's essential.  Maybe not for every individual, but for your friends, your neighbors, the children who live here.  For the people who make Point Roberts what it is.  And what it is is the place that we have all chosen to live.

Thanks.  From The Friends of the Point Roberts Library

(If you want to contribute and your not down here on the Point this month, please mail a check for $20, made out to FOPRL.  Our address is FOPRL, P.O. Box 970, P.R., WA 98281.  We'll arrange for you to pick up a button later when you are here.)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Time to Stand and Be Counted

This month, we're asking everyone in Point Roberts to drop into Sterling Bank or the library and donate $20 each for the new library.  We'll match every $20 donation with a matching gift, and if 1,000 people do this, we'll have $40,000 at the end of the month.  Everyone who donates will have his or her name recorded in the official donation book, so be sure to leave your name with your $20.

In the first few days, we have received $600, which doubles to $1,200.  Thanks to Sharon Niles, Bunny Miekle and Alex Benekretis for being the first three donors at Sterling Bank!  But we've got a ways to go to get 1,000 donors and only 26 more days to do it.  We'll let you know how our residents are doing, but the numbers will be better if everyone donates.  It's a small amount for a big gift.  It's OUR library so we all need to support it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Another Gas Station Comes Forward!

The owner of the Chevron and the Texaco gas stations has contributed $1000 plus $1000 worth of gas gift cards, the latter of which we can convert into $1,000 cash, for a $2,000 donation.  For the new library.  That's three of the five gas stations that have now made a contribution.  And a fourth (the Shell station owner) has an appointment with us this month to talk about support.  Only one, the USA, remains unheard from.  But there's time yet.  This gets us up to about $165,000 in donations.  We are pretty pleased.

This is a library for and by everybody!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Support from Point to Point Parcel!

In the mail today, a donation check from Point to Point Parcel for $500!  If you should happen to be in their location, please to tell the owner and/or his employees 'thanks' for their support.  Business support is going to be critical for getting the new library built and it's very nice to see businesses stepping right up when asked.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

First Book in the Sculpture Stack

At the Annual General Meeting on the 13th of May, Judson Meraw provided a view of the book stack sculpture that he and Tor Baxter are building to stand in front of the Julius Firehall, the home of the new library-to-be.  They had five books to show, but none yet painted.  Today, they are all five painted and the first title was being put on the spine by Jack Lubzinski.  They expect the first five books, all finished, to be on site and in full public view by mid-June.  Eventually, there will be 15 such books in the stack, each with a different title.  More books will appear as more money is raised.  At today's counting, we have raised over $162,000, with five four $10,000 contributors now putting their names in the Founders' Circle.  That's almost 1/3 of the way, which is to say Five Big Books worth!

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Genial Annual General Meeting Last Saturday

On the 13th of April, the Friends of the Point Roberts Library held its Annual General Meeting at the Community Center.  It was a time to meet the new Whatcom County Library System Director, Christine Perkins, who has been chosen to replace Joan Airoldi.  She started work today (Monday), so it was particularly nice of her to inaugurate her new job by visiting us out on the far reaches of the System. (I think of us Uranus or Pluto, maybe.)

We welcomed some new and old officers to the Board of Directors (Barb Wayland (President), Louise Cassidy (Treasurer), Heidi Baxter (Secretary), as well as Bill Liaskas (rep from the Support Committee), Judy Ross (rep from the Fundraising Committee), Mark Robbins (rep from the Park and Recreation District), and Kris LoMedico (rep from the Library System).  We approved some changes to the By Laws, and learned that we are now not only a Washington State non-profit corporation, but on the edge of becoming a 501(c)(3) organization (charitable tax exemption) under federal law.

Attendees obligingly paid their $5 year membership dues for the upcoming year, and participated in a random draw in which 10 of them received a hand-made "support the new library" bookmark.

Two big features of the day included, first, the Book Sculpture, which will stand in front of the Julius Firehall very soon to illustrate the fundraising progress.  This project which is mostly the work of Tor Baxter and Judson Meraw features a large flower-pot-like base upon which will rest a stack of giant books, the stack growing larger as the donated funds grow.  Judson brought their initial work to give everyone an idea of what it will look like:  The books will be painted, they will be different sizes, the top will be an open book or maybe a monitor, the books themselves may turn, it will be a permanent structure for the library, there will be a rod of some sort behind it that will have numbers on it.  They've been working on this for just a couple of months and expect it to be on site by summer.  Enormous thanks to them!  We live in a community of artists...

The second exhibition was the presentation of a model of the new library itself, built by local high-school student Alex Tersakian.  It's not clear where this will find its home in the near future, but it will definitely have a home in the new library when it is built.  If there are miniaturists in the community who would like to provide some park benches, get in touch with us!  Great work from Alex!

Finally, there was an explication of the fundraising plans for the rest of this year.  We currently have a new one-year $100,000 matching grant to encourage ten individual or business donations of $10,000: the donors will become members of The Founders' Circle, and the grant will then match those donations.  The owners of the CanAm Petroleum station are the first Founders' Circle Members, Dorothy and Darrel Sutton are the second, Ed Park and Judy Ross, the third.  There's still room in the Circle.  Give us a call!  Our current donation fund total is $140,000.

In May, the Friends will be sponsoring a call to the members of this community to each give $20 to the new library fund.  Again, we have a matching fund that will match the first thousand contributions of $20.  If a thousand supporters donate $20 each, the donation fund, with the match, will rise by another $40,000 in one month.  The new library is something that will belong to all of us and we want everyone to have a chance to participate in that sense of belonging.  Some people, some businesses may be able to give more, but everybody who knows and feels the importance of having a community library that is adequate to the needs of the community can give $20, if only this once.

To contribute, take your twenty to Sterling Bank any time in May that it is open.  The tellers will record your donation and deposit it in our account.  And they'll give you a button too.  (button photo on the left.)  Every name that is recorded will then be written in the Donation Book record that we are maintaining for this project.

Then, when you've given your $20, please wear your button out in public so all of us can recognize our fellow members in the circle of friends of the New Point Roberts Library.  It takes a community to build a library.  The friends of the Point Roberts Library demonstrates regularly that they are the core of that Community.

Thanks to everyone who came on Saturday and to everyone who will join in the coming months.  The library gives to all of us and it is a privilege to be able to give back to it.

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

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Note for Your Calendar

April 13, 2013 will find you, we hope, at the Community Center for the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the Point Roberts Library.  Beginning at 4 pm.  A lot of things have happened over the past year since the last Annual General Meeting and more are happening as I write: e.g., we were told yesterday that the owners of the CanAm Petro Station, Tim McEvoy and Bruce Gustafson, are contributing $10,000.00 to the New Library Building Fund.  That is a way to begin spring!  We are so very grateful to them.  They have been big supporters of the community in other areas and we are delighted to have them supporting this project, as well.

In general, we have about $130,000 right now raised for the new building.  And more to come as we have some large pledges for donations, including matching gifts, through 2013, already in writing.

In addition, the Friends is transforming from an Association to a Washington Non-Profit corporation.  And then on to a 501(c)3 organization at the federal level.

So come to the meeting and find out what you can do to help maintain the momentum for the new library.  If you have not yet made an individual donation, this would be a good time to do so.  As we go forward to foundations and government agencies, one of the standard questions is whether our supporting group (that would be YOU and the others on this mailing list) have contributed to the project.  All members of the Board of Directors have done so, as well as all members of the LIC (the fundraising group whose formal name is the Library Improvement Committee).

Do plan to come to the meeting.  Those of us who are organizing the fundraising (you and all the rest of the community, of course, are providing the funds) need to talk with you to make sure we're going in the direction that you want.

Thanks.  Judy Ross for the Library Improvement Committee

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fundraising Ideas from Everywhere

This is at the top of my gmail today: "You can make a lovely hat out of previously-used aluminum foil." But, will it help raise funds for the new library? Maybe, if we make them, every one of our 1300 permanent residents would be interested in buying and wearing "a lovely hat [made] out of previously-used aluminum foil." Of course I'd then have to collect all that used aluminum foil to make the hats. Somedays, the internet just wears me out....

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

We're on Their Wave Length!

Got an email yesterday from Congresswoman Suzann Delbene's liaison person that he will be coming up to Point Roberts next month and would like to see our current library and our proposed new library, as well as be briefed on the status of our fundraising campaign.  All good news!

We wrote to Ms. Delbene last January and a staff person kindly replied to us on her behalf, indicating she would be happy to help us in such ways as she might.  One of the things that particularly interests me in having her support is that she is on the Agriculture Committee in the Congress and the Agriculture Committee has programs to support rural libraries.  Back when we had a stimulus (before our library project was underway) there was quite a lot of money available for rural library capital projects.  There may still be some such money around under different programs and it is good to have one's congressperson on your side.

State Senator Doug Erickson has also indicated his willingness to look into state funding, but we have yet to hear back from our state legislators, Vincent Buys and Jason Overstreet.  Gosh, what ever happened to constituent service?  When I worked in the U.S. Congress as a liaison back in the late 60's, a typed letter (they were all hand-typed then) from a constituent practically got a telegram response.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Quilts for the Library

On March 16, we will be holding the second (perhaps annual) Point Roberts Fiber Arts Festival at the Community Center, 10-4.  There will be a quilt exhibit, hands-on workshops in felting, peace flag making (flags to be mounted on the big wall of the Julius Firehall this spring), knitting, etc.; demonstrations of rug hooking, tiny bookmaking, woven treasure bags.  And a talk on the abandoned house quilts as well as one on a rug hooking collection.  And vendors.  It will be a nice day with lots of things to do and wonders to look at.

And there will be a raffle for three stunning quilts made by the members of the Point Roberts Quilt Group.  And below are pictures of those quilts:

The three quilts are all different sizes: the top one, with the houses ("There Goes the Neighborhood) is made by all the members of the P.R. quilters and is a wall quilt; the middle one, ("Library Log Cabin") made by Maxine Clark, is a double-bed-sized quilt, and the bottom one ("Kaleidoscope") pieced and hand-quilted by June Christie, is a lap quilt/baby quilt.

The drawings for the quilt winners will be at the end of the day on March 16 and, of course, you don't need to be there to win. need to buy a ticket to win.  Tickets will be on sale at the Fiber Arts Festival ($2 each or 3/$5) and also tomorrow, Wednesday March 6) at the Community Center from noon till 2 pm.  We were at the International Market last Sunday and will try to be there Saturday or Sunday of this coming week, depending upon the weather: can't take the quilts out in the rain, of course.

The great bulk of the proceeds from this event will go to the New Library Building Fund.  These include all the proceeds from the quilt raffle, the 'New to You' table, and the donated fiber arts goods: quilts, knitwear, and various other fiber articles donated by artists from this community.  Join us for a fun day.  And if you can't make it, please buy a raffle ticket ahead of time.

Judy Ross, for the Friends of the Point Roberts Library

Monday, February 25, 2013

Birds and Books

Driving past Neilson's today, I see this:

Excellent advice!  Neilson's is contributing all the proceeds from the sale of its 20# bags of wild bird seed to the library building project until the end of March.  AND they're advertising it.  Way to go!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I Give, You Give, and Everybody Gives

Friends of the Point Roberts LIbrary is now registered with an internet site called "".  If YOU register with that site and download the donation button, then every time you shop at one of the over-a-thousand stores that are allied with, the store will make a donation to the Friends of the Point Roberts Library for the new library building.

It's a new way of incorporating giving into your life.  My children, of course, belong to a generation that is easy about shopping on the web, so I asked them to register.  It doesn't cost them anything, they shop at stores like amazon and snapfish,,  and home depot, etc., anyway, so why not register and help their mom's very favorite project: building a new library in Point Roberts.  And register they did.

If the new library is one of YOUR favorite projects (and why wouldn't it be?), please register and download the donation button and get your kids to do it, too.  One more way to raise the funds we need to get this building renovated.

And speaking of this building, have you noticed that the siren on the roof of the Julius Firehall is a spanking new red?  Thanks to Ed Park and Lorne Neilson for having this happen.  

Also, Judson Meraw and Tor Baxter are working on a book and computer sculpture that will go in front of the Julius Firehall to measure our fundraising progress (it's $94,000 by my unofficial count as of today).  They're aiming for a mid-April completion.

Also, in early May, or sooner, we hope to get the first set of prayer flags/'piece of the library' flags up on the wide, eastern wall of the Julius Firehall.  By the end of summer, we could have as many as a thousand of them.  For a $5.00 donation, you can have a 'piece of the library flag' (currently being made by various of the local quilters), and you can sign it, draw on it, write a prayer or good wishes or just (just?  Please!) inscribe your name next to the name of your favorite book or author and we will get it up on that wall with everyone else's flag.  And then we will look at this big, cololful array all summer and think of the library we are building.  A great meditation for a great community!

Judy Ross, for the Friends of the Point Roberts Library

Friday, February 22, 2013

Who Pays for the New Library?

The total property assessment for Point Roberts in 2011 amounted to $588,832,369.  That's the assessed value of all the property here on the Point.  If we had a levy to pay to renovate the Julius Firehall for the new library, it would amount to $85/$100,000 assessed value: less than we pay for fire services, every year.  But it would need to be paid only once, and then the remodelling would be done.  

So, if you're thinking about donating money to the Julius Firehall Renovation/new library building fund, here's one way to think about what would be your fair share: $85.00/$100,000 of your house's assessed value.  More would be nice, of course, and it would make up for people who truly couldn't afford a dollar's more worth of taxes.  A generous gesture toward your neighbors.  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fiber Arts Festival Coming March 16

On your calendar: March 16, 10-4, Community Center.  Even the Space Invaders will be coming....

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Getting Ready

It's been a quiet January for most people, I think, as we all recover from December.  But by now, we at the fundraising committee are getting into gear.  Today or yesterday, everyone with a street mailbox in Point Roberts should have received our "End-of-the Year" report on the status of the new library.  It has been a good year past with wonderful support from residents and visitors of all kinds as well as a number of local businesses.  And now we need to generate a new wonderful year of the same.

The costs of this mailing were provided by a grant from the Whatcom Library Foundation as a way to ensure that we could reach out to everyone in Point Roberts as fully as possible.  We hope that everyone will read it and, if they have not previously donated, will seriously consider doing so this year.  In February, we will be reaching out particularly to the members of the FOPRL about donating because we need to be able to assure foundations and other grant-issuing agencies that we have a 100% support level not only from the fund-raising group itself (which we do have), but also from you who are our primary support group (a support level which we currently do not have).

In March, there will be a Second (maybe Annual?) Fiber Arts Festival on Saturday, March 16.  There will be a quilt exhibit, fiber arts demonstrations and workshops, a multiple quilt raffle, and perhaps a silent auction, as well as various vendors of various fibers.  As all the plans are finalized, we will communicate them to you, of course.  Barb Wayland, the President of FOPRL is in charge of organizing this event so if you would like to participate in the work end of the festival, do get in touch with her: we will need all the help we can get.  The Festival will benefit the library building fund.  Just heard today that, weather permitting, it will include goat shearing (as a spectator sport).

Then, a week later, on March 23, there will be a Romance Writers Workshop at the Community Center.  Jean Barrington is organizing this and we'll have more details from her after she gets back from vacation.

We all hope that your new year has begun well (although a little grey and cold, I know), and that 2013 will be a big year for you and for the library in all its manifestations.

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

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Broadening the Base

We begin the New Year with $90,000 in donations and new plans.  There's a part of me that thinks, well, maybe it's time to catch our breath for awhile.  Except that, there is another $400,000 to raise.  This year we will be looking to bring more local businesses into the ranks of active supporters.  Sterling Bank, the International Marketplace, the Blue Heron, Auntie Pam’s Country Store, Brewster's, and Neilson’s Building Center have been solid financial supporters throughout the last year.  Furthermore, Neilson’s has pledged a $5,000 donation for 2013.  Nielson's plans to fulfill its pledge by staging a series of fund-raising events, including their world-famous belt sander races, and supplementing with a direct donation to top off money raised at the events.  We will be working with other businesses to expand the membership in the Library Diamond Club for Point Roberts Businesses.

And we will be working to expand the base of individual support.  Because of the financial crisis and the resulting very low interest rates, many foundations have cut back on their grant giving, because the money for grants depends on the income from their endowments.  Similarly, government agencies, because of the general financial retrenchment, have significantly reduced their commitments to capital grant giving (as opposed to smaller grants to specific programs/project).  It is critical in appealing to Foundations and Government Agencies that are still willing to consider capital grant requests to be able to show very broad public support.  

Our current support is strong but it is not extremely wide.  It is tempting for people, when they see how well the community fundraising has progressed during this first year, to think, “Oh, well, they’re doing great; they don’t me to add to their totals.”  But the community needs everybody: everybody who uses the library and everybody who has ever used any library.  A public library is one of the most compelling services that a community provides to its residents.  If you have one, though, everyone tends to take it for granted.  If you do not have one, the loss is enormous for many people and especially for children.

We need to provide this new library with adequate space and features to be a 21st Century library for ourselves and for those who come after us.  And we need to repay our debt to those who made sure we have had a library in Point Roberts for the past 65 years.  It takes a community to build a library.  That is the work of the coming year for all of us.

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

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Here We Go

Here we go, right into 2013, our second year of fundraising.   Here is the 'Showers of Gold' quilt with its current 88 squares, each representing $1,000 of donations; which is about 2 squares short of the money we have actually raised.  Which is to say that we now have donations totalling $90,000, in addition to another $35,000 of pledges for 2013.  It's a great start for a big sum, but this second year will be even more critical for the success of this project.

Occasionally, I am just focused on the actual number of dollars that need to be raised, but more often I am thinking of and vizualizing the actual building and the actual space that will be there for all our eyes to see and all our selves to use.  I imagine the new kids' room, over three times as large as the current kids' room, opening onto an additional, usable outdoor area.  It won't be dark or gloomy as the current room is, but filled with light and kids, chairs and tables, including a table of computers for them to use; and books, of course, still many books.  There will be kids in this library for decades to come.  And we will all have worked to make it a better place for them to learn, to discover books, to feel the freedom that using a library easily can bring to a person.

I see the space for adults to sit and read in a comfortable and convenient chair, with light pouring in and the outside trees clearly visible, bringing the Point Roberts we most love into the library that we also love dearly.  I see computers and computer tables for them, too, and still books that wash in and wash out over the year.  Always enough books in sight and multi-thousands more on their way from the County's great resources.

And all this space and equipment will be shiny and new.  We will have time to ease it in and make it our own, but at the beginning, it will just be there ready for us to incorporate it into our unusual little community.  A community project for the community that we are and for the community that we will be for many years to come.

Everyone benefits from something new, now and then.  We have had this library for over 65 years.  The old, familiar and friendly, is good too, but we have plenty of that around.  We are over ten years late in getting a millenial library, but we can still have it if we join together to make it happen.  We need everyone to be included, we need everyone to join all those who are already working to make this happen.  We need all the Friends of the Library to reach out so that everyone who lives here, everyone who uses the library, everyone who uses Point Roberts regularly becomes a friend of the library by supporting this new library.

Thanks to everyone who has donated time and energy and dollars this past year: because of you, we are closer to having a new library.  We look forward to adding to that number this year, as more people begin to see that new library as a part of their own future and add their names to the 'Book of Donors.'  Be a part of history!  And a very good new year to you all.

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