You’re probably familiar with the old saying: It takes a village to raise a child. Most of us don’t live in villages anymore, but this saying emphasizes the importance of living and working together in community. It takes a community to raise children into productive and outstanding citizens, to provide services for people in need, and to ensure the health and safety of our friends and loved ones. We must work together to achieve our goals, and we must support one another to make it through both good times and bad.
I’ve been the director here at Guthrie now for one year, and a question that I’m frequently asked is: What can I do to help support the library? The answer is: a lot. Here are some things you can do to help us meet our vision of giving all Hanover area residents the information they need in order to live their best lives:
Gifts of presence. One of the simplest and easiest ways to support your local library is simply to show up. The vast majority of our programs and services are available to the public, free of charge. Sign up for a library card. Come to one of our events or programs. Visit us on social media and share our posts. Every time you use or visit the library, you’re letting us know that you value having the gift of literacy and information services available in your community.
Gifts of voice. Tell your friends, your loved ones, and your neighbors about all that the library has to offer. Contact your elected officials to let them know that library funding is a priority for you and that you’d like to see them help ensure a future for public libraries in your area. As you will read below, we receive a significant amount of funding from local government: consider taking some time to call or write them and say “Thank you” for continuing to provide a much-needed community service that is all too often overlooked.
Gifts of time. In 2021 alone, our volunteers gave over 1,000 hours of their time to assisting us here at the library. The volunteers who participate on the Board of Governors, our Friends of the Library group, and the Hanover Public Library Association also dedicate countless hours to ensuring our sustainability.
Gifts of things. If you donate clothing and shoes to any Community Aid location and give them the library’s partner number (50018), they’ll donate a portion of the proceeds back to us. The Friends of the Library accept donations of gently used books for their ongoing book sale, as well as higher-end household goods for their monthly silent auctions. Maybe you own a business and would like to contribute some swag we can use as prizes for our monthly trivia nights. And keep an eye on our Facebook page, where we occasionally post calls for other items that we need for programs or special events.
And of course, gifts of money. Administratively, we are a department of the Borough of Hanover, and we receive a significant portion of our funding from local government. However, this only accounted for 26% of our funding in 2021. An additional 31% of our funding in 2021 came from state and county government funding. This leaves almost half of our annual operating expenses for us to raise on our own each year, and its why we spend so much time hosting fundraisers, applying for private and public grant funding, and asking for your support in ways both large and small.
These annual operating expenses are used solely for the library programs and services that you see and interact with every day, both in-person and online: our skilled and friendly staff, our storytimes and book clubs and trivia nights and educational speakers, our books and DVDs and audiobooks and ebooks and research databases and magazines, our special Pennsylvania Room collections and dedicated archival equipment, and our cleaning, maintenance, and supplies costs. We understand that not everyone has the capacity to give in this way, especially in the midst of global crisis and a worsening economy. But the option is there if you’re able, and you can donate any time on our website or by asking a staff member at one of our desks.
Nonprofit organizations like the library provide vital services, but we can’t do it alone: it takes a community. A community to look out for one another, to lift each other up when we’re going through hard times, to collectively celebrate our victories and mourn our losses, and to work together to make sure that essential community services such as education, recreation, cultural connections, and literacy continue to survive and thrive in Hanover for many years to come.
Yours in community,
Stay in the Know!
Check out our August Newsletter.
Follow us on Facebook and stay up to date on the latest news.
Let your voice be heard! What do you want to see the library blog cover next? Submit a request here.