There is a long, deep history of private generosity shared with public libraries. Everyone recognizes the name Carnegie and his association with libraries. The Leavenworth Public Library is fortunate in that we benefited over 100 years ago from the famous Carnegie himself and the giving tradition he established remains strong to this day. Countless donors have made great contributions to enhance and enrich services we provide.
The most significant private support made to the library on a regular basis comes from the Leavenworth Public Library Foundation. Every year they pass along thousands of dollars contributed by hundreds of individual donors. One example of how those dollars were put to work in 2016 is the twelve laptops the Foundation purchased for use in the Library. They have been borrowed 1,426 times since they were added to our collection in March. The Foundation’s goal in 2017 is to purchase an industrial strength, high volume disk cleaner that will rescue DVDs, CDs and books on CD that come back with scratches. That will be a double benefit: it will put disks back in circulation faster and save thousands in replacement and processing costs.
Recent preparation of interesting and timely displays resulted in quite unique examples of community support. A request was made for games to display in December. The response was overwhelming. We ended up with a huge collection featuring everything from queens and rooks to plastic pigs. We could have filled both display cases two times over. January is Hot Tea month and many local residents have shared all kinds of tea-related objects for a display, from pots to cozies to cups and samples of tea varieties. It is obvious they let us borrow some items with deep sentimental value.
Many local companies and business owners are also very generous. They donate thousands of dollars to boost our Summer Reading Program as well as free prizes, gift certificates and goodies that make our kickoff and finales so successful. Many lifelong memories are made for children who earn prizes for reading over the summer. That goes for winter activities too. A certain man in a red suit with a big white beard visited the Library in December and gave books to over 100 very happy kids. The books were donated for that cause by the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution who called out of the blue one day and asked what they could do to promote reading to children. They responded gloriously. As do so many others to whom we are deeply grateful.
Generosity is like that. It is sometimes unexpected, unsolicited and as Shakespeare wrote about mercy, “…it is twice blest, it blesseth him that gives and him that takes…” The real impact of donations large and small is not only the dollar value but the commitment to community. When people support their library, they improve the quality of life for everyone. They demonstrate their sense of pride, care and real love for their town, friends and neighbors.