Cum­ber­land County li­brary foun­da­tion moves closer to cre­ation

Or­ga­ni­za­tion will raise money for pro­grams, ser­vices, equip­ment

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - CUMBERLAND COUNTY - BY DAR­RELL COLE CIT­I­ZEN-RECORD AMHERST dar­rell.cole@amher­st­ Twit­ter:@ADN­dar­rell

Work has be­gun on cre­at­ing a foun­da­tion to sup­port the Cum­ber­land Pub­lic Li­braries.

Li­brary board chair­man Dale Fawthrop first raised the con­cept dur­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s an­nual meet­ing sev­eral weeks. He said sim­i­lar foun­da­tions are in place at other li­braries, such as in Truro.

With fund­ing stag­nant, Fawthrop said li­brary boards have to look at al­ter­na­tive ways to raise money for pro­grams and ser­vices and while boards will re­main fo­cused on gov­er­nance, the foun­da­tion will raise money in the com­mu­nity. The money will be used to fund pro­grams, ser­vices and equip­ment.

“Pub­lic li­braries play an in­te­gral role in to­day’s world. In ad­di­tion to books and In­ter­net con­nec­tions, they are cul­tural cen­tres and com­mu­nity gath­er­ing hubs,” Fawthrop said. “In Cum­ber­land County, the Amherst branch sees over 1,000 clients per week, while over 7,500 res­i­dents of the county have ac­tive li­brary cards.”

The lo­cal li­brary clients seek books, e-books, movies, mag­a­zines, news­pa­pers, com­puter use and re­search as­sis­tance. Youth and adult mem­bers par­tic­i­pate ac­tively in many ex­cit­ing and free pro­grams.

“Pub­lic li­braries in Nova Sco­tia have ex­pe­ri­enced in­creas­ing tough financial times over the last 10 years. The seven li­braries in Cum­ber­land are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing very chal­leng­ing times due to staff re­quire­ments and dis­tances and, most im­por­tantly, frozen pro­vin­cial grants,” he said. “All past gov­ern­ments and par­ties over the last 20 years have not in­cluded the in­creased cost of liv­ing nor have they de­vised re­new­able fund­ing be­yond the yearly bud­get.”

Fawthrop said most peo­ple are not aware that li­brary staff are not gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees and that the pro­vin­cial grant to li­braries does not cover cap­i­tal ex­penses such as book, vans and com­put­ers.

The board is seek­ing as­sis­tance in the for­ma­tion of a li­brary foun­da­tion. “Time spent by li­brary staff fundrais­ing is time that can­not be used to pro­vide ser­vices and pro­grams. As well, the board has a gov­er­nance role,” he said. “The board’s mem­bers come from mu­nic­i­pal and pro­vin­cial ap­pointees. So, we need a lo­cal foun­da­tion to raise funds to as­sist with ex­penses such as re­place­ment of the book van. The book van is used to move ma­te­ri­als around the seven lo­cal li­braries.

If in­ter­ested in at­tend­ing the first meet­ing of the Cum­ber­land Li­braries Foun­da­tion, con­tact Denise Corey, chief li­brar­ian at the head of­fice in Amherst.


Cum­ber­land Pub­lic Li­braries board chair­man Dale Fawthrop talks to youth ser­vices li­brar­ian Jenn Atkinson (cen­tre) and as­sis­tant chief li­brar­ian Chantelle Tay­lor about the de­vel­op­ment of a li­brary foun­da­tion in Cum­ber­land County.

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