Thursday, April 24, 2014

Library still receiving generous donations

The Charles J. Watt Fiction Collection is one of the recent examples of the public’s generous support of the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre.
Library CEO Alicia Subnaik Kilgour said Watt’s son, Jeffrey, contacted the library last year in wanting to make a donation in memory of his father, who was an avid reader and regular patron.

The library is developing the collections over three years, already has built up a sizeable number of books and audio books, and recently put up a name plate commemorating the “Charles J. Watt Fiction Collection.”
“I was told that Mr. Watt really liked mystery books so we started it with a mystery collection,” noted Subnaik Kilgour.
“However, the money for the fiction collection will go into augmenting our whole fiction collection, not just mysteries,” she added.
“But we thought that was a great way to start it because that was his love.”
Book-lovers curious about which titles are part of the Charles J. Watt Fiction Collection need only search the library’s catalogue via computer.
Go to the library’s website (library.fort-frances.com) and click on “Catalogue.” On the search page, click on “All fields,” scroll down to “Item category 1,” and then type “Watt” in the search bar.
All of the books earmarked as part of the Charles Watt Collection will appear.
A second example of generous support was from local resident Dino D’Agostini, who recently donated $5,000 to the “Friends of the Library,” which, in turn, gave the library the funds to run the “Forest of Reading 2014” program.
Last year, the library offered the “Evergreen” reading program, which encouraged adult patrons to “branch out” in their recreational reading, Subnaik Kilgour explained.
But this year, thanks to D’Agostini, the library will network with local schools and expand the reading program to include readers ranging from those in kindergarten to adults.
This program will start soon and end in April.
Subnaik Kilgour said that in both of these cases, the money was donated to the library for specific purposes. And because of that, the library has them in dedicated funds drawn upon only for those purposes.
This means donors can rest easy knowing their donations are being spent for their intended purpose.
Library board chair Joyce Cunningham noted donations such as these, as well as ones like the wall fountain donated by Olive and Irvin “Ike” Eisenhauer, are important for several reasons.
“As a board member, I can say donations we receive, such as from the Watt family, are amazingly welcomed,” she smiled.
“We are overwhelmed when people do that.
“Number-one, it shows that this library is important to members of the community and they want to give the resources so that it can grow and develop,” noted Cunningham.
“It’s also good because we know as time goes on, we see needs in various areas,” she added. “We see needs for physical things—the fountain was one of them.
“But Watt is a particular collection,” Cunningham remarked. “Mr. D’Agostini’s is another particular program—and those come to the front when we discover we don’t really have the monies to go ahead.
“They’re something special that comes along and they contribute.”
Donations to the new library have ranged from stained glass and furniture to a fireplace lounge to the licence for the library to screen movies.
Some of these were paid for by the “Friends of the Library” and some by individual donors.
Cunningham noted some donors prefer their funds go to physical objects, but funds also could be used toward the running of the library and its programming.
“We’re in an age where libraries are evolving very fast and so we need to be educating, training,” she stressed, explaining funds could be used to provide courses for staff to expand their expertise and thus provide more services to the public.
Cunningham added that as a member of the community, she annually looks to where she can donate—and she does give to the library.
This money not only helps the CEO makes purchases not possible within the library’s budget, but also is a tax deduction for the donor.
“Sometimes, after we moved into the [new library in 2010], I think people assumed, ‘Well, they’ll never need anything ever again,’” Cunningham said.
“But we do, particularly when budgets have been a little tighter.
“As has been pointed out, we’ve been flatlined for some time and we accept that,” she added. “We want to do our part for the community.
“But it means that in order to maintain our level of service that we have, we are, to some extent, depending on the community to help us as we want to develop and grow.
“Personally, I love this library and when I think of making donations every year, it’s always one of mine—and I think it is for other people, too.”
Cunningham said it’s easy to make a donation and, in fact, sometimes people just walk into the library with a cheque.
“It’s truly amazing,” she marvelled.
Cunningham noted donors often are quiet about their contributions. As such, the library board and CEO continue to think of ways to recognize donors and make sure the public knows their generosity “has been another major part in making a better community.”
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the library is encouraged to drop by the library, call 274-9879, or e-mail askilgour@fort-frances.com

More stories