A few years ago, when the roof of the Rockville Centre Public Library needed to be repaired, the money for the work came out of the library’s surplus fund, practically draining it.
To help make sure the library could afford future repairs, whatever they may be, Trustee Charlie Kelleher created the Rockville Centre Library Foundation.
“The idea behind it is to get money for the library so that we can have some discretional spending in the future,” Kelleher said. “To raise a capital fund and invest money so that, in the future, we won’t have to depend on the taxpayers of the village to support the library.”
The Foundation, which was incorporated on April 21, 2011, is a not-for-profit corporation in New York state with 501(c)3 status with the IRS. This gives it the benefit of being able to apply for grants that aren’t available to libraries.
It’s different from the Friends of the Library organization, which raises money for more immediate concerns: computers, books, children’s supplies and more.
“I did not want to do the same thing [the Foundation was] doing,” said Kelleher. “I wanted to have money and then invest it in the stock market. I realize it’s going to take a long time, but in 25 or 30 years, hopefully we’ll have enough money where we can use it for the library’s construction.”
The roof work done a few years ago used most of the library’s reserves, which were around $1 million. Kelleher hopes that by raising money over a long period, the library will be able to finance future repairs without tapping into reserves or using tax dollars.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing that it can hopefully grow into something that will be able to support capital funding for the library,” said Library Director Maureen Chiofalo. “I see it as a very positive thing for the future of the library.”
So far, the Foundation has invested about $2,300. To help raise more money, it is holding a raffle until July 17. Prizes include gift packages for local restaurants and the grand prize: four tickets to Hershey Park in Hershey, Penn. Tickets are $1 each or $5 for six and are available at the circulation desk in the library.
“All the library experts are telling us that, in 20 years, there really aren’t going to be many books,” Kelleher said. “Everything is going to be digitized. So we’re not going to need a bigger library, we’re going to need to maintain the one we have.”