Rendition of new library

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

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