NWT Centennial Library is asking community members who see value in literacy and library services to contribute to its annual Book Appeal.
The main use of a library is the available material – books, DVDs, CDs and periodicals, along with public computers.
Tom Lakusta, vice-president of the Hay River Library Committee, said that is where the community comes in.
“The funds from the Book Appeal go directly toward new materials,” he said.
Each year, the library staff tracks what is popular and what gets used or requested most, and uses that information to make decisions about what to bring in with the funds raised.
“It depends on what people use,” said Lakusta. “People want computers, so we bring in computers. They are always busy, so we bring in a few more. Now we have six. And they are very useful for people who want to update resumes or use the Internet. We evolve based on what the public is looking for.”
In the past, the Book Appeal, which begins in September and runs to Christmas, has raised between $3,000 and $8,000.
This year, people who wish to donate will be given the option to choose what their donation will support. Lakusta explained a donor can choose from five categories: audio book, reference, large print, children’s literature or fiction.
“Audio books are great for people whose eyesight has diminished, but their interest in literature hasn’t,” he said. “Or they are useful on the long trip to Edmonton. But now a donor can choose to invest in that kind of media.”
Each $20 received is recognized by placing the donor’s name, or that of a group or loved one, in a book.
“It’s always nice when people appreciate the library,” said Lakusta.
The library is neither a GNWT nor a Town of Hay River entity. It is run by a volunteer board made up of members of the community.
Lakusta said the GNWT’s in-kind funding pays for the building, heating, facility bills and the salary of the head librarian.
Each year, the Town of Hay River gives money to help cover the other staff and some of the programming.
Usually, each of those sources provides approximately $160,000.
The board must get creative with programs that bring in funding from other sources, such as English as a second language classes and summer student funding.
Lakusta said the library is averaging 3,500 to 4,000 visitors per month in 2015.
“We continually look for avenues for all people to enjoy whatever aspect of literacy appeals most to them,” he said. “It really unites all people, from every age group and every economic situation. Our patrons truly represent our community.”