This spring, at career day at Cherokee Trail elementary school, one little boy asked me how we PAID for all those books -- the wide-eyed look left no question that he thought that I, personally, had to pull out my wallet every time we needed a new volume.
Luckily -- VERY luckily!! -- the library offerings don't depend on my personal savings. Rather, we get our funds from three major sources: the county, the state, and grants.
This fiscal year, which began for the library system on July 1, promises to be a particularly good one for us. County Council increased our operating budget, which will allow us to buy many more books and other materials than last year. In addition, the state allocated lottery funds for library use, another increase from last year. Without county and state funding, we could not operate, and I sincerely thank all those who voted to increase library support.
The library system has also secured several grants this year:
-- a $25,000 Library Services and Technology Act grant, which will support programs and purchase computers, Internet access, books, and audiovisuals for the libraries and for the Abbeville County First Steps Learning Bus. Funds from this grant will not only bring the Learning Bus to the library for programs, it will also allow library outreach programs to travel to the more remote areas of the county.
-- a $14,000 Public Access Hardware Grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. This grant will allow us to replace older computers at the Donalds library and to increase the number of patron computers in Calhoun Falls.
These funds will allow us to improve our offerings of adult books, children's books, and audiovisuals, as well as to update and expand our computers for patrons. Thanks to county and state support, and to grant supporters like LSTA and the Gates Foundation, we can answer that little boy's question with a big smile!