By Jessica Lovell
It’s a lofty goal, but the Guelph Public Library’s new fundraiser is approaching her $10-million task with a positive attitude.
“The $10-million fundraising goal may seem daunting to some, but I am 110 per cent confident that it is possible to reach,” said fund development officer Kirsten Bester. “The library has a lot of friends, and the Guelph community is a wonderful place. With their support and enthusiasm, I am confident we can do this together.”
Bester, who first worked at the library as a page and then as a clerk while she completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Guelph, was hired on full-time in the newly created fundraising role in May.
Bester is getting the ball rolling on a fundraising campaign for a new main library branch with a golf tournament scheduled for Sept. 14.
“We’re hoping if the golf tournament is a successful event that it will be an annual event,” said Bester.
As it’s only the first year for the tournament, she has not set her sights on too ambitious a fundraising goal, hoping to bring in between $5,000 and $10,000 with the event. But as with other similar local events, she expects the tournament will bring in more money with each subsequent year.
And no time is being wasted in promoting the event.
Tickets go on sale July 16, the same day as the library’s fundraiser party, which will officially launch the $10-million campaign.
The amount is only a fraction of what a new main library is expected to cost. The library itself will probably cost $60 million, said Bester. The $10-million campaign will raise funds for furnishings, fixtures and equipment, she said.
The kickoff party will be golf-themed – with a putting green set up in the library’s entrance area – in honour of the first fundraising event, but it will also be a chance for people to hear head librarian and CEO Kitty Pope speak about her hopes for the new library.
“We want to inspire people,” said Bester. “We want to have a place that the public is proud of.”
She stressed the value of the library for the entire community, noting that the facility is an important resource available to everyone.
“A lot of people think it’s just books,” but the library also offers Internet access, computer access, e-books, numerous other resources, as well as a variety of community programs and activities, said Bester.
Part of her job will be to make sure people are aware of how valuable the library is.
“It involves making friends from within the community, nurturing the wonderful relationships that the library already holds and spreading the awareness of the wonderful services that the library provides, as well as establishing the need for a new library,” Bester said.
The library has a couple of other fundraising events in mind, including an auction event, and a 130th anniversary gala next year. Bester knows $10 million will not be raised through such events alone.
She is also planning a direct-mailing campaign with a push toward setting up bequests and recurring donations.
“The perception is that we’re city-funded and city-run and that we don’t need any money,” but that is not the case, said Bester.
Librarty drive begins with golf
The inaugural Library Links GPL Golf Classic will take place Sept. 14 at Victoria Park East Golf Course.
Tickets for the fundraiser go on sale Monday July 16 on the Guelph Public Library’s website, www.library.guelph.on.ca, or at any library branch.
The event will include a barbecue lunch followed by 18 holes of golf with a cart and a prime rib dinner. Discounts apply for people who register as part of a foursome, and Guelph library card holders will also receive a discounted rate.
Those who don’t want to golf can still contribute to the fundraiser by attending the evening dinner and silent auction. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information, contact Kirsten Bester at 519-824-6220, ext. 302, or email@example.com.