Free Library Foundation Exceeds Fundraising Goals
The Free Library has been feeling some pain lately. Their funding is down 19 percent over five years and in the days and weeks leading up to the end of this fiscal year, the Free Library Foundation headed up a massive email campaign asking for donations, warning without help, programs like One Book, One Philadelphia and LEAP After-school programs could get cut.
Now, the fiscal year is over. And the Free Library Foundation actually has some good news.
“The end of year is going quite well for us,” says Melissa Greenberg, Vice President of Development for the Philadelphia Free Library Foundation, “and actually we’re really thrilled; our annual fund is going to be 15 percent higher this year.”
Which means for the time being, she says, funding for the library’s programs put together by the library’s foundation remain in place.
The state and city budgets take care of most of what you see when you walk in a city branch; things like librarians, security, facilities and whatnot. The Foundation, though, is in charge of all that stuff the library does outside (and sometimes inside) its branch walls: The aforementioned youth services, as well as summer reading and science programs.
Additionally, where state and city funding falls, the Foundation often picks up the slack to keep general services going and salaries funded.
Greenberg tells PW the Foundation received over 800 “gifts” from the greater Philadelphia public and corporations around the cities to keep their programs going, even if things were looking a little dire for a while there.
“We are not going to be cutting any services,” she says. But given the climate, “There’s always worry about funding and in fact as the public dollars continue to go down more and more.”
As we’ve previously mentioned, Governor Corbett initially proposed a 5 percent cut for the Public Library Subsidy in his budget, which was later restored by the Legislature. This was while a Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative report showed library usage is up 11 percent between 2005 and 2011 and city funding has suffered so bad, threats of a shut downs have become commonplace (but not this year.)
And there you have it: Your slice of good news before you and I both celebrate a day off of work. Happy 4th readers/America!