March Fundraising Campaign Gives Libraries Local Incentive

The Great River Regional Library (GRRL) system is giving supporters an increased incentive to donate during its annual High $5 fundraising campaign in March.

“In 2011, 40 percent of all donations will be set aside for local use at the library where the donations are made. The remaining 60 percent will be put into a general fund to support regional library activities,” said Julie Henne, the library’s coordinator for communications and fund development. The High $5 campaign is a grassroots fundraising campaign designed to be affordable so that all library patrons can participate. It asks for a donation of only $5.

GRRL includes 32 branch libraries providing full library service. In 2010 they loaned 4,129,443 books, magazines, CDs, DVDs and audiobooks. Branch libraries also provide storytimes for children, presentations by visiting authors, computers for public use, wireless Internet access, and a digital library of eBooks and eAudiobooks.

The library’s administrative base is housed within St. Cloud Public Library. St. Cloud is where staff members select, purchase and inventory books and other items for the entire region. It’s where the IT department runs the computers that keep all 32 branches connected, and it is also home to the professional librarians who answer patron questions. If computer wiring needs re-routing, if shelving needs to be reconfigured, or if a branch need signage, library employees based in St. Cloud provide that support, Henne explained.

“Our libraries are only able to provide complete library services because of regional support and funding,” Henne said. “We do depend on local entities to provide buildings to house our branches. That’s why we will divide donations to High $5 so 40 percent of all contributions can be spent locally.” Branch libraries typically use local gift funds for furnishings, incentive prizes for the children’s Summer Reading Program, or items not provided as a regional service such as cameras and children’s games.

“When the High $5 program was established six years ago, $5 was seen as a very modest gift that almost all people should be able to afford. Imagine the impact it would have if every one of our 140,000 cardholders donated $5! We haven’t approached anywhere near that level of participation yet, but every little bit helps,” Henne said.

Individuals wishing to make a High $5 donation should stop by their closest GRRL branch library.