(Seguin) -- If you're excited about the new Seguin Public Library and all of the free services that it provides to the community, there's a way for you to make a lasting impression on the library's future.
The Public Library Foundation is reminding the community about the work done by the foundation in support of the local public library system. Foundation Board Member Sandra Moline says the foundation raises money to help support the library's overall mission.
"The purpose of the foundation is to supplement the city and county funding for the library, and also to build an endowment to allow this supplementation for 50 years, 100 years. We try to get things for the library that regular public funding cannot supply. It's over and above the regular materials and services that the library provides. These are the extras -- the icing on the cake as it were," said Moline.
The money from the foundation is not meant to supplant funding provided by the city of Seguin and Guadalupe County each year. Seguin Library Director Jackie Gross, who's an ex-officio member of the foundation's board, says the additional funding really enhances the services that can be provided here locally.
"The money that the foundation provides, and indeed tries to build an endowment for, is for things...that are above and beyond what our normal operational budget could cover. With all city departments, there's only a certain pool of money and everyone is fighting for it. Typically, libraries are on the lower end of the pecking order, so support organizations, like the foundation help not only show that the public is supporting the library, but also let's the city officials know that there are support groups there -- but not to the take the place of the (city and county) funding that goes in each year to the budget," said Gross.
The library foundation for years has been raising money to support the local public library system. It's also working to create an endowed fund that will make sure that the library remains viable for years to come. Gross says that the money collected by the foundation is being put to good use.
"The foundation since 1998 has given gifts to the library in funds, almost $300,000. With that, some of those funds have been earmarked for specific resources, like business resources. So there are some online business resources as well as print resources like Value Line, (and) Morningstar that the library now provides access to for customers that a library our size would not be able to afford. It's thanks to the foundation, because that was earmarked for that. The foundation money has paid for other resources like our Fregal (Music Library) subriscripton, which allows people to download music at no cost. Numerous technology items, computers for the public, scanners, printers, all of that, all of those things that -- we would not be able to purchase and keep up to date with the money that we're funding annually with (just) the city government," said Gross.
Foundation board members, like Moline, Gross, Joe Patterson, Jr. and Charlie Willmann are all encouraging people to make an end-of-year donation to the foundation. It would provide much needed financial support for the foundation, and it would also provide a tax benefit to the person making the donation before December 31.
"It's really important for people to know, not only are they helping to build a fund that will help future generations in Seguin, but also that they do get the tax write off for that. It's a win-win, but certainly having a good strong endowment that is specifically earmarked for public library and library services is really, really, really important and needs to be sustained," said Gross.
Willmann says the work done by this foundation, and many others in this community, really go a long way in helping to improve the quality of life of the people who live here. Willmann says foundations all over the United States are making a difference.
"I sometimes wonder what would happen if there weren't foundations? There are foundations for nearly every good thing that's in existence. If you didn't have foundations, I can't imagine -- had they not started 50 or 100 years ago what kind of shape our country might be in. And you're able to contribute to these organizations, (and) it's tax-deductible. The government seems interested in it enough to do that, but I just can't imagine what would happen if you didn't have them," said Willmann.
Moline says donating to the foundation not only helps to support the library's future, but it also sends a message to those governmental entities that support it. They need to know that the library matters.
"It also shows the city that there is public support for the library. Here are these people giving of their time (and) their money. They are putting the foundation in their estate planning. This is something that's important to the community as a whole, and it's something that deserves support," said Moline.
The community demonstrated its commitment to the public library system in 2013 when it overwhelmingly approved bonds that allowed more than $14 million to be spent to build a new library along Walnut Creek in downtown Seguin. Gross says the new library is a state-of-the-art building that allows them to offer even more services to the public.
"We thought that Seguin deserved to have that gem as you refer to the library earlier and to build on the hike and bike trail at Walnut Springs Park, Park West, all of these things, so people outside of Seguin know these people take pride in their community. These people take the pride to offer those things, to build those things, to offer parks, that kind of stuff," said Gross.
Now that the new building is up and running, the work of the foundation is even more important. Board members say they must do all they can to make sure that the additional funding support is available to enhance the current offerings at the library, and to make sure that a free public library program exists in Seguin for decades to come.
Those interested in making a end-of-year donation to the foundation can do so by sending a check to the Public Library Foundation, 313 W. Nolte St., Seguin, Texas 78155. In addition to cash and checks, the foundation can also accept donations of stock. More information about the foundation and how to support it can also be found online at http://publiclibraryfoundation.com/
, or by calling 830-401-2466.