This week I get to enjoy two of my favorite events of the year, both involve our active supporters. Without them our level of library service would not be sustainable. The first is donors. On Sunday I had a great time at our third annual, “Looking Forward” event. Held in the Library on a Sunday evening after closing, the ticketed event begins with a presentation, then we move to the main library space for food, drink and conversation. We were very fortunate this year to have Maureen Corrigan as our presenter. She gave a great talk on how she got into the business of book reviewing and ended with a list of books we should all read. Most importantly we raised money for the projects that we fund through gift support each year. Among other things, gifts purchased 8% of the items added to our collection last year, they make the Summer Reading Program possible, they will be supporting the operations of the new bookmobile, and they contributed over $150,000 to the purchase of the bookmobile.
The second event I’m looking forward to is our annual Volunteer Recognition Event. The theme this year, in keeping with our bookmobile influence, is “Volunteers Keep Us Rolling Along.” And, boy, do they. Last year 315 volunteers contributed 9,609 hours of work. At a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour and calculating for mandatory Social Security and IPERS this is the equivalent of over $110,000. At the event we will recognize all our volunteers who have reached milestones in their service. This year we have two people who cumulatively have donated over 1,000 hours each, one who has reached the 2,000 hour milestone and one who has spent 3,000 hours giving back to the Library! Of the ten largest public libraries in Iowa only Ames has more volunteers who contribute more hours.
Thank you to all donors and volunteers. You are family. We could not do it without you.