by Kurtis Kelly, Communications Specialist
It’s February: the perfect month to celebrate the expression, “Love your local library.”
More than ever, we’re grateful for the abundant ways our mountain village share Library Love, whether through financial gifts, time spent volunteering, or materials donated to Cliffhanger Used Books.
What does Library Love do? It brings a smile to a child, taking home his or her own Storybook Kit. It welcomes a bestselling author into the homes of hundreds of local readers for a fascinating community conversation. It funds Makerspace equipment that created face-shield components for healthcare workers.
It couldn’t happen without a mechanism to receive and process that generosity. That pathway is the Estes Valley Library Friends & Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that works in harmony with our tax-supported library, elevating the good to great.
Sarah Walsh has been working with our library for nearly two decades, from serving on the Board of Trustees, to fundraising work, to her current role as Development Director. This week, Sarah answers some of our questions about the power and process of library giving.
What is the “friends” part of the Library Friends & Foundation?
“If you become a “library friend”, you’re in great company. We are kindred spirits, joining together because we love our local library and the great work it does. Big gifts and small gifts both make a big difference.”
What’s special about becoming a library friend?
“We thank all our members at Cliffhanger with a 10% discount. And we thank them at our annual membership reception—we look forward to gathering later this year, once it’s safe to do so.”
Tell us about the “foundation” part of Friends & Foundation?
“Over the years, donors have built an endowment to support the Library. Combined with special gifts, endowment earnings help fund bigger-scale library projects, like—in recent years—the creation of the Library’s Quiet Room, Makerspace, the Twig outpost at the Rec Center, and other renovations. We work with donors, whether they’re making a small one-time gift or considering the library in their estate planning.”
How do you decide which projects to fund?
“Each year, the Library develops an operating plan, which is woven in their 3-year Strategic Plan. It’s developed from lots of community listening, monitoring trends, and working with local partners. For instance, the Library is working collaboratively to make sure more kids are benefitting from early literacy to become Kindergarten-ready.
Out of all that planning, the Library develops clear objectives that outline each year’s funding needs. We raise funds to meet those targets, whether it’s for One Book One Valley, the Summer Reading Program, or staff development needs.
The Library listens to the community, and we raise funds to help those goals succeed.”
Later this month, we’ll explore more—including Cliffhanger Used Books, and many ways that Library Love is making a difference.