Library groups work toward July opening

March 16, 2011

The Hood River County Library Special District and community supporters have received a giant boost in their efforts to restart library services this summer.

Meyer Memorial Trust last week approved a $61,000 grant supporting the library's reestablishment, reported Heather Staten, Hood River Library District board member.

According to Sara Duckwall Snyder, library district board chair, notice of the grant award was received on Friday, March 11 -- and provides "bridge funding" for a new director's salary, recruitment and interim staff support, until tax dollars begin to flow into the Library Special District next November.

"We are very excited to be able to receive the Meyer grant. This will allow us to hire our director and start the planning process for the July limited opening. We were fast tracked by Meyer and we are very grateful," said Duckwall Snyder.

Before receiving the funds, the Hood River County Board of Supervisors, who serve as fiscal agent for the library district, must review the grant conditions and requirements and vote to accept the funds.

"We hope to have a check in hand by mid-April," said Duckwall Snyder.

In November, voters passed a levy providing a tax base to reopen the library which closed in June 2010 after its operational funding was removed from the Hood River County general fund budget.

Though levy funds won't become available until the fall of 2011, the Hood River Library Foundation and the district board of directors have been working this winter to develop implementation strategies and funding options in order to open limited library services in July.

"The library board has determined that we need $200,000 in hand before tax revenues arrive in mid-November in order to be open in July. With the Meyer grant, we are at $110,000 to date," said Staten.

Additional fundraising events are currently being planned by the Library Foundation board, including a "Feast of Words" dinner and dessert event. The date is not yet finalized, but the event will coordinate book-themed dinner parties in private homes followed by a large gathering for dessert at the library itself on either May 14 or 21.

The goal of the evening is to raise $15,000 toward the "Open Early" campaign -- again targeting the July opening date for service provision.

Staten also reported that additional grant applications are still being written and an individual donor request letter is being sent out this week to all library patrons who have donated in the past.

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