Falmouth library annual campaign falls short

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FALMOUTH — A rainy day fund established by the board of trustees is helping Falmouth Memorial Library erase a deficit in its annual operating budget.

The library also turned to social media the last few weeks of the 2017 fiscal year in a broader appeal for money needed for day-to-day operations.

The library was more than $10,000 short of its $50,000 annual campaign target on June 30, but neither Andi Jackson-Darling, the library director, nor Marsha Clark, president of the board, said they were too concerned.

“We won’t be closing the doors or laying anybody off,” Clark said last week. “The board has a responsibility to make sure it all works, and we will.”

This is the first year the library has created a focused social media campaign to assist with raising money for its annual fund, Jackson-Darling and Clark said.

The library gets the majority of its annual budget – nearly $501,000 in fiscal 2017, and more than $516,000 this fiscal year – from the town, but must raise a share of the total operating costs.

“We expected it to be a difficult year, since we also have a capital campaign going on for the building expansion,” Clark said. “So that’s why we decided to very actively campaign on social media.”

In the weeks leading up to the end of the fiscal year, the library posted appeals for donations several times a week on its Facebook page, besides sending out a few tweets.

Jackson-Darling said any donation dated June 30 could still be applied to the 2017-2018 fiscal year budget. “You can put it in the mail or through the book drop,” she added.

“We realize we’re asking people to dig deeply,” Clark said, “but people seem willing because they care about the library.”

Although the library was having difficulty reaching its annual-fund goal, Clark said many of the library’s other fundraisers this year have brought in more money than ever before.

“Our book sales and other fundraising efforts are all up,” she said.

The annual fund is for “our regular operating expenses,” she said, while acknowledging it’s been more difficult to raise the money needed because the capital campaign is going on at the same time.

“We have a plan,” she said. “If we fall short the board can assist us with its designated fund.”

Clark said “there is clearly a difference between the annual fund and the capital campaign. One is what keeps us going day to day, the other is what will make us grow and be better.”

Clark said raising money for the annual fund usually begins in March of each year. It’s the library’s biggest fundraiser for the year and she said the close shave, in terms of getting the full amount needed, is “nothing new.”

What was new, she and Jackson-Darling said, is that “our appeal was more public with our social media campaign. We thought, ‘why not?’ because we knew people are (more) generous when they know about the need.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KirishCollins.

Falmouth Memorial Library was still more than $10,000 short of its annual fund goal as of June 30, the end of the fiscal year.