The Arlington Libraries Foundation formally announced its formation at a press conference today. The Foundation was established to increase awareness of the role of libraries in Arlington and to raise funds to support their work.
“I couldn’t be more ecstatic about the establishment of the Arlington Libraries Foundation,” said Ryan Livergood, Library Director. “While our Libraries have never been more vital to our community, due to the reality of the financial constraints we operate under, along with essentially every other public library in the country, finding the resources to deliver the services our communities want and need becomes more and more difficult with each passing year.”
The Foundation will be the third non-profit supporting Arlington’s libraries. The Friends of the Robbins raises money for the libraries through used book sales, membership dues and other activities. The Friends of the Fox Library raises money through the Little Fox Shop and through donations which is used to open the Fox Library additional hours and improve its facilities.
The Foundation will focus on its permanent funds, which will support extra hours, materials, youth services and unrestricted gifts. The Foundation will also provide a way for donors to create named endowed funds and make bequests.
“The library is one of our most cherished civic enterprises. As someone once described it, ‘It’s like the town’s living room’ – a place to go and relax and read and browse and follow your interests,” said Kathy Fennelly, Chair of the Libraries’ Board of Trustees. “In order to keep up with the information explosion, our libraries need help from all of us. The Foundation will be a great addition.”
Arlington’s first library was established in 1807 as a private, members only institution. Thirty years later the library became public when the town voted to give it an annual $30 stipend. At about the same time, a gift of $100 to the library created the first free continuous children’s library in the nation.
“For almost 200 years, Arlington’s libraries have been supported by a combination of tax dollars and private donations,” said Kathryn Gandek-Tighe, President of the Foundation. “The board of the Foundation looks forward to helping our libraries maintain and expand their services, and we invite everyone to join the over two centuries of benefactors who have made Arlington’s libraries a valued resource for the entire community.”