We’re not INVISIBLE any more!!!
We are in desperate need of your financial support.
It is important that people know about the Douglas County Library Foundation and what it does to support libraries in all of our communities.
If you are reading a book from your local library, it was probably purchased with funds from the Douglas County Library Foundation. Your children went to Summer reading programs that were supplied and financed by the Douglas County Library Foundation. And it was all right that we were invisible to the users of the library system.
It used to be so easy. The library had paid staff in all 11 branches, a computer system that maintained the book inventory, and a fleet of vehicles that transferred books and supplies among the libraries in the county. When the system needed funds, the head librarian would simply ask us for money and we would provide it. We spent approximately $40,000 a year to buy new books and another $30,000 for supplies and equipment that included the Summer reading programs in all of the branches. And we have done this every year for nearly 40 years.
Now, however, the library system no longer exists, but the Douglas County Library Foundation still does and is still here to provide assistance to every library in the county.
What used to be branches of the countywide library system are now functioning as independent libraries, mostly without benefit of any paid staff. It is all being handled by volunteers from your community. But they still need money to operate. They need money to buy new books and computers and to pay for a computerized catalog system. They need money for Summer reading programs. They need money to keep the lights on and the heating systems in their facilities.
In the most recent year, while we were still trying to get our feet on the ground after the loss of the library system, we asked every library to request funds for their needs. We had a budget of $70,000 and we received $82,000 in requests. Obviously, some requests were reduced or denied.
In the coming year, we are still budgeting $40,000 to purchase new books, and we will be providing additional funds for supplies and equipment for summer reading programs, but we are working on what we believe will be an equitable means of distributing available funds to each library in the county.
You can help. We are a board of unpaid volunteers (no one on the board receives any money for participation) and we manage an endowment that provides some funds through investment earnings (depending on the whims of the stock market), but we rely heavily on the largesse of our supporters throughout the county. We used to receive about $40,000 a year in donations, primarily from business sources and large donors, but they have not been so generous since the countywide library system closed down. Perhaps they simply are not aware that the Douglas County Library Foundation still exists. Be that as it may, we are now down to about $10,000 in donations for the most recent calendar year.
There is now an organization called the Douglas Community Library Association that is working to provide some semblance of a county-wide system again. Six of the eleven libraries now share a common computer-based catalog system and the Education Services District of the county provides transfer of books and materials among the libraries. The system is not as efficient as it was when there was one county-wide library, but they are generously providing this assistance to us.
Needless to say, we need your help. If we could raise our donation base to the level it was before the system closed down, we could provide much more assistance to each independent library. Indeed, if we could raise it to a much higher level, we could finance much-needed services that libraries now go without.
Please help by donating what you can to the Douglas County Library Foundation. Every penny helps.
Adding value every day
The Douglas County Library Foundation works to improve financial support for the libraries by securing gifts, grants and bequests. All the money collected and property acquired by the library foundation is used to support the libraries of Douglas County.
Libraries matter. For that reason, the Douglas County Library Foundation was founded in 1981 to help support the work that the Douglas County Library System does each day. Our role has become even more important since the countywide library system was dissolved in 2017. The Foundation conducts an enhancement campaign each fall to raise money to purchase more books and materials for all of our libraries. In addition, we fund the Summer Reading Programs held in all of our libraries. Your donations are critical to the survival and operation of all of the libraries in Douglas County.
Our 18-member volunteer board is comprised of people from our community who understand that libraries improve childhood literacy, provide computer access essential for job seekers and open doors to a world of information through books and online resources.
Our efforts make library dollars stretch farther, giving those services that each library provides even greater value.
Check out the stories to learn about how libraries matter to Douglas County residents. Find the library closest to you, read news about libraries, and feel free to donate. And, here are some quotes about how libraries matter:
“When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully-the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equalizer.” –Musician Keith Richards
“I could be happy if I could think that the role of the library was sustained and even enhanced in the age of the computer.” –Bill Gates
“Libraries are community treasure chests, loaded with a wealth of information available to everyone equally, and the key to that treasure chest is the library card. I have found the most valuable thing in my wallet is my library card.” –First Lady Laura Bush
“The part of my education that has had the deepest influence wasn’t any particular essay or even a specific class, it was how I was able to apply everything I learned in the library to certain situations in my life. . . The library takes me away from my everyday life and allows me to see other places and learn to understand other people unlike myself.” –Musician Gloria Estefan
“Librarians have always been among the most thoughtful and helpful people. They are teachers without a classroom. No libraries, no progress.” –Broadcaster Willard Scott