Executive Director Celeste Choate and Foundation President Larry Jobe discuss the importance of the Urbana Free Library Foundation.
Despite ongoing challenges, The Urbana Free Library continues to work to better serve our community, in many different ways. And now we could use your help.
First, some of The Urbana Free Library’s accomplishments: Over the past year, more than 804,000 Library materials were checked out by residents, putting us in the top 10 percent nationally among libraries with a comparable budget. And a whopping 30,000 residents took part in Library programs.
One of those programs was the eighth annual Fairy Tale Ball, held on April 17 and attended by more than 1,600 residents. Many of the attendees were parents and children garbed in spectacular fairy tale costumes. It was quite a sight!
Teens are among our most avid patrons, with over 7000 taking advantage of the Teen Open Lab since 2013. Held Tuesday through Thursday afternoons on most weeks, the after-school program introduces teens to new skills, such as music and video production, digital art, and 3-D printing.
We’ve initiated new programs, including 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, a year-round reading program to help start young children on the path to success. The Library has also added new and innovative circulating collections, including hands-on literacy and math kits for children, and a brand new vinyl LP record collection, with both new and classic titles.
As you can see, we do a lot! But great libraries don’t just happen on their own. Please consider giving to The Urbana Free Library Foundation’s annual fund-raising campaign.
The Foundation helps provide funding for Library projects and events that otherwise might not take place. In recent years, that has included updating the Library’s website and purchasing the Webber property at Race and Green streets for future Library growth. With strained city and state budgets, the need for Foundation assistance is becoming even greater.
But the purchase of the Webber property, in particular, has reduced Foundation assets to where unencumbered reserves stand at only $9,000. And we have many unmet needs. Topping the list right now is renovating and repairing the historic Race Street porch, which could cost $250,000. Bolstering reserves to enable a possible future purchase of vacant adjacent property is another top goal.
Please consider giving generously. We thank you for your past support and look forward to seeing you at the Library!