A great online article “Homegrown Fundraising” on the Library Journal website (dated January 14, 2014) by Denice Rovira Hazlett is well worth taking a look at. See http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/01/budgets-funding/homegrown-fundraising/.
The piece discusses the efforts made by the Holmes County District Public Library (Ohio) under Bill Martino to garner stakeholder support for the library system. Within Holmes County resides a large Amish/Mennonite community and I found encouraging the efforts taken by the library system to practice what the article calls, “cross-cultural cooperation”. This partnership plays a key role in supporting the library system.
What are the main takeaways I found in the article?
1) Find leaders from within the community you serve and put them in a position to provide major support to the library. Until Martino arrived there had never been an Amish member on the library board. In order to clearly understand, communicate, and garner support from the Amish community it was important that the Amish community be represented. After a year’s work of searching Martino tapped Jerry Schlabach to be the first Amish member of the library board.
2) Rethink how you gather support for the library. If the traditional political structure does not work for you, go directly to the people. In the case of Holmes County many Amish do not vote or participate in the traditional political process unless the issue directly impacts them. However, the library was able to partner with a local Amish style restaurant to serve meals to support the library. In this partnership the library staff (including the library director, library employees, and library board members) serves meals with a percentage of sales and all tips going to support a library branch.
3) Look for grants to get funding to do the things your library needs to do. An Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant concerning a Targeted Populations project, piqued Martino’s Interest in 2012. In September of that year the library was awarded nearly $40,000 for its Amish outreach Program. The grant primarily went towards placing book drops around the county and to purchasing a cargo van to collect items from the drops.