The day after Generosity Day (formerly known as Valentine’s Day) seemed a great day to highlight the work of a tiny but mighty group in northern Minnesota that is allowing their community to be generous.

At the Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library in Crosby, Minnesota the board and staff have taken on the task of educating their community about the changes in the funding that supports their community library. They get little to no funds from the government, the trust of the Jessie F. Hallett family has been supporting the library for many years.

That is about to change.

So, the library team, after a high-energy fundraising action planning session with yours truly last fall jumped into action. They are encouraging the community to share their stories about WHY the library is important to them, and inviting library patrons to share used books and reselling them in their bookstore.

AND they are educating the community about the annual funding gap they are experiencing due to the reduced support from the Hallett Family Trust. I love is the fun they are having with it! As you walk into the library these days there is a fun visual display of the “Funding Gap.”

Funding gap 081

As dollars are raised to reduce the funding gap the spine of more books are filled in. Here’s the information they are sharing:

As the Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library deals with a $35,000 funding gap due to a decrease in funding from the Hallett Trust, patrons and community members are asked to help “shelve the gap.”

Each time $1,000 is raised by the Library and Friends, a book will be shelved on the large display at the front charging desk. As depicted in the photo, FIVE books have already been shelved by the end of January! With an Anything is Possible attitude, the JFHML hopes to continue to provide up-to-date technology, great programming and top notch materials, including the addition of e-books in Fall of 2012.

What is important to know about this great group of community members and their wonderful library is that they have not asked the community for support like this before. They have a small but growing pool of supporters they are reaching out to with this invitation to be generous. People are responding positively because, as Sasha Dichter, from Acumen Fund says: “People are hungering for something more in their lives – more connection and more meaning.”

And the response has been great! Just a month into the year they had already raised over $6000. Their total funding gap was $35,000 and they’ve already reduced it to $29,000.

fundinggap2

They are spreading the word with email updates, the display at the front door of the library, at community meetings, and other methods of social media.

Here’s the reality: Their hardworking library staff are already working full-tilt on keeping the library going each day. But they and the board have agreed that the maintaining the quality of the library is critical. So the biggest shift they’ve undertaken is to not be shy about allowing anyone and everyone in the community know the library welcomes the generosity of others.

I am confident they’ll end the year with the funding they need. . . because they invited support.

Good luck, Peggi and the Hallett Library team!

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