Mission: The mission of the Friends of the Staunton Library (the Friends) is to provide volunteer support and raise funds that enhance the programming, technology, and collections of the Staunton Public Library.
Community Need: The Friends support the Library as a hub of educational, instructional, and recreational use. The Library stands for access, helping people find a connection to unfamiliar technology resources or opportunities that improve their quality of life. Patrons frequently rely on library staff to help them bridge the gap between their technological needs and what their skills allow. Librarians offer ongoing computer training in the form of formal classes, one-on-one appointments, and on-the-fly assistance. The Library also nourishes patrons’ quality of life by connecting them with resources that help them learn about their family genealogy and local history. While they may access the books and databases at the Library, there is nothing in place that allows them to access or share their own history preserved in obsolete formats.
Primary Activities: The Friends act as the fundraising arm for the Library. In addition, the Friends provide on the ground support to library staff, helping with special events, volunteering in the library, and holding regular programs. These efforts raise the visibility of the Library within the community, and members help publicize the library’s many valuable resources and services. Through the ongoing fundraising efforts, the Friends are able to augment the budget provided by the City of Staunton. The additional funding allows the library to offer family events, staff training opportunities, additional technology, or new furniture that the library would not be able to otherwise provide.
Constituents Served: The Library and the Friends primarily serve the city of Staunton, which has a population of 24,761 according to the latest estimates. During 2017, the library estimates that they received over 173,000 visits, with almost 16,000 people attending special programs. The computers were used almost 19,000 times; staff assisted with approximately 3,900 computer questions. The Library currently has 19,015 cardholders, ranging in age from infants to retirees. Residents from the surrounding municipalities are also allowed to register for library cards, and the Library serves a large number of residents from the northern parts of Augusta County, as it is the most convenient library location for this area. Currently, registered cardholders include: adults (13,900); teens (1,300); and 0-11 (1,400).
Program Details: The Friends seek financial assistance to purchase specialized technology equipment that will allow people to digitize and preserve important historical and family moments. By investing in this technology, they will help people migrate their important milestones and memories from obsolete formats to be enjoyed and shared in digital ones. These types of devices would provide a complement to the technology already offered at the library, and may be the spark someone needs to approach computers for the first time. They are interested in purchasing an overhead document scanner for large or fragile items, multi-format film/slide to digital converters; a laptop for check-out to members of the public; and various memory and connectors to facilitate saving digitized media. As the service continues, the Library could even parlay its success into an online collection celebrating local history.
Amount Requested: $1,500
Operating Budget: $35,685