Responding to budget cuts that have slashed the Alameda Free Library's ability to replenish the items on its shelves, the Alameda Free Library Foundation has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $50,000 to buy books, e-books, videos, and other materials.
The foundation announced the public launch of the campaign, with a goal of raising what it would cost to purchase 2,015 books by the year 2015. A "soft launch" of the campaign began in spring 2013, and has already brought in gifts and pledges of just over $40,000, anchored by the support of generous donors along with each of the foundation's 13 board members.
"We're thrilled with the enthusiastic participation we have received so far from some of the library's longtime supporters," said Foundation President Eileen Bitten. "Now we're reaching out to the rest of the Alameda community to give back to a community institution that serves us all so well. Many people depend on the library's collections for reading, learning, and connecting with the world. We need our library to maintain a robust array of offerings."
Donors are being asked to give what it would cost to purchase one, five, ten or more books. So, if a book purchase averages $25, donors could give $25, $125, $250 or more. But donations of any amount are welcome. The money will go directly to the library to pay for materials.
Foundation directors responded when Library Director Jane Chisaki told the board that increasing collections was the library's greatest need. Over the past several years the library's materials budget has been cut by 40% as the city has had to reduce funding to many services.
The library is much more than a place to check out a book. It also serves as a community center providing all types of information, literacy programs, children's services, homework coaching, a room specifically for teens, and more.
In fiscal year 2012-13:
- The library served 468,753 patrons
- Was open to the public a total of 5,535 hours
- Downloaded 10,517 eBooks to 3,358 unique patrons using OverDrive
- Hosted 227 story times attracting an audience of 8,752
- Hosted 466 class visits for 10,628 students
- Offered 662 hours of homework coaching
- Offered 265 special programs for 10,617 patrons,
- Held a record-breaking 2013 Summer Reading Program, with more participants than ever: 2,905 children, 119 teens, 119 adults
- Made 554 deliveries to 36 homebound patrons who checked out 2,704 items
- Responded to 73,906 reference inquiries.