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Schlow Library Rethinks Fundrasing Efforts In Midst Of Financial Woes

by on July 10, 2015 6:30 AM

After losing more than $1 million over eight years, the future of the Schlow Centre Region Library could be in jeopardy.

Library administrators say cuts in state funding have hurt the library's finances -- and with costs rising the library is slowly running out of money to take care of basic necessities.

"Because of the demand for new books and day to day materials to run the library, the cost has really gone up," says library director Catherine Alloway. "And with the building almost ten years old, the costs for fixing it have gone up too."

According to Alloway, state funding for the library last year was approximately $415,000.

If the library doesn't get more money from the state in the future, she worries that the library won't have enough money for pay the cost of maintaining the building.

Alloway is also concerned because the state has not released its annual budget for public libraries. It was supposed to be announced July 1 but the state budget stalemate has made it unclear how much money might be in the pipeline.

"We're getting less and less money from the state each year," says The Schlow Library Foundation Board President, Susan Werner. "And to keep up with the standards of the library we need more donations from the community."

Schlow library has very strong ties to the community and that showed when the library flooded in February.

"When we were closed because of the flood, people sent us many checks and helped us clean up as well," says Alloway. "And after some people started to help, it triggered more and more people to donate money and we're just very grateful for all the help."

When the library first started asking for new contributions some of the youngest community members stepped up and answered the call.

"What's amazing is that little kids are giving us their money as donations," says Alloway. "Kids that have birthday  parties will come to the library and donate all the money they got for their birthday so we can buy new books."

To help with fundraising the community support group known as the Friends of Schlow Library recently changed its name to the Schlow Library Foundation.

"The change reflects the greater need for the non-profit to raise funds for the library," says Werner. "This transition will give the library one fundraising arm that combines the Friends and Schlow campaigns. Our purpose remains the same, to help maintain Schlow as a vibrant resource in the Centre Region."

The library also hired Molly Hetrick as its new manager of philanthropy. Hetrick will work with the board to come up with new fundraising opportunities.

Both Alloway and Werner stress the importance of having a library and urge people to donate.

"For any public library to survive now a days, there has to be strong community behind the library to support it," says Alloway. "It's nice to see that people really value Schlow Library for the programs and materials it has."

Click Here to donate or volunteer at the library.


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Abhar Shah is an intern with A senior broadcast journalism major at Penn State University Shah is part of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. Abhar is also involved with THON and the Penn State Cricket team.
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