Library Reform Group

February 17, 2008

Library Patrons and Staff Recommend PPL Fund-Raising Strategies

Filed under: Fundraising — Patricia @ 3:05 pm

Members of all of the PPL Friends groups, as well as the Library Staff Union and contributors to this blog, have made a number of very useful suggestions for improving PPL’s fund-raising track record. The suggestions made by the Library staff, the Friends groups, and other patrons have been presented to the Library Partnership Advisory Committee in a formal report.

Here are some of the report’s highlights:

  • Stop passing the buck to the public. The responsibility for fundraising is in the hands of the Library Administration. It seems as if the spiral is downward: “We have no money and we have no future plans because we have no money. . .” This seems like more of the same. The library doesn’t know what it can afford to fund so it can’t raise money because it’s cut down on services, which means that fewer people want to donate money.
  • Help establish a friends group at each of the branch libraries to help with some of the small costs associated with the running of the particular library and to help others when needed.
  • Organize events that will involve large numbers of people and provide the Library with good publicity. The Providence Preservation Society holds both an annual reception, with tickets at $75/$100, and a house tour, at $25, so that there were events that could attract a wide income range. 
  • Put the change boxes back by the checkout counter. When patrons pay a fine, they are likely to drop change and even bills into the box. This will add up.
  • Any PPL administrator earning more than $75,000 takes a 10% pay cut—and apply the savings to library services.
  • Establish an annual spring or fall festival with all of the libraries involved.
  • Organize a series along the lines of AS220s’s “Speak-Out” forums. There are lots of authors who might participate, and the forums could be held at the various branches as well as at Central.
  • Have a televised auction.

To read all of the suggestions made, consult the full report.


1 Comment »

  1. 1.
    The Providence Public Library had had an excellent record of cooperation with the City until the City began to cut back and asked the Library to fund a greater portion of the operations funding than ever required previously. Historically City taxpayers had supported only about two thirds of the expense of operations. Providence Public Library’s self funding of the remaining significant portion of operational expenses was a boon to the taxpayers. (Normally cities fully support public library operations.) In addition, PPL was continually recognized by the American Library Association as one of the finest systems in the country.
    Now it is difficult to do fundraising because services have had curtailments and threatened curtailments because of the City has not continued to fund their normal portion of operating expenses. Providence’s excellent library system is struggling and will suffer and struggle more without a restoration of support from the City similar to that of some ten years ago when there was an excellent City/Library cooperative working relationship. Fundraising will also suffer until there is an about face on the part of the City and a restoration of the mutual funding sharing along with the kind of cooperation that existed before the city cut back on its normal financial contributions. No fundraising efforts will work until people’s trust in the basic cooperative City/Library funding is restored. The City has increasingly wanted the Library to support a bigger portion of the expenses. The time has come for the City to publically admit their past errors and embark on a working relationship with the Library that will restore public confidence by restoring cut-backs in library services.
    The situation will only deteriorate if funding is not adequately restored by the City. Cooperation is urgently needed for service and public confidence. Public confidence is a necessity for fundraising.
    Comment by George Westerlund — February 21, 2008 @ 9:04 pm

    Comment by George Westerlund — February 22, 2008 @ 2:37 am | Reply

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