Lydia Friesen explores some of the new books received at Faith Memorial Library though the Pilcrow Foundation grant. 

Faith Memorial Library receives new children’s books through grant

There was a grand opening held in Wallace on Wednesday, Feb. 28. While it wasn’t a grand opening one might think of, it was the opening of boxes of children’s books that Faith Memorial Library recently received as a result of a grant from the Pilcrow Foundation out of Cottage Grove, Oregon. 

Reflecting the community’s strong support of the library, its volunteers wanted to have the opening of the boxes and the sneak peek of the books to be a community event. 

The boxes were wrapped in ribbon and bows and the children helped open them. Sitting around the growing pile of books, second grader Lydia Friesen remarked, “It’s going to take a long time to read all of these.” 

Alexx Robinson exclaimed, “They are really good!” before adding “Perfect! Awesome.”

Pilcrow Grant

In the fall of 2017, volunteers at Faith Memorial Library happened across an opportunity that seemed made-to-order for the small all-volunteer library. 

The Pilcrow Foundation’s Children’s Book Project was offering double-matching grants for hardbound children and youth books for rural libraries. It is one of the few grants available to non-accredited libraries. The fact that Wallace does not operate with a paid employee is one of the factors that keep FML from becoming accredited. 

The Pilcrow Foundation was looking at rural libraries in small towns distanced from urban communities. They look at the number of children who visit and check out books as well as the library’s commitment to children’s programming.

“When we contacted the foundation, we learned that the requests far outnumber the grants, but if we didn’t receive it, our application would move to the next grant period,” said volunteer Carol Friesen. 

The group decided to apply for the largest grant amount and commit to raising $400 which would be met by $800 from the foundation. 

Before the grants were even announced, the volunteers decided to hold a bake sale to raise the funds. On a Sunday in October, they set up tables at Mac’s Super Foods and $746 was raised. 

Volunteer librarian, Virginia Coppersmith said, “We have outstanding community support for the library.” 

The group had raised enough funds for the grant and most of the yearly subscription fee for the new automation system. Shortly thereafter, the volunteers got news they had received the grant.

Volunteers worked to select books from the list provided by the Pilcrow Foundation. They consulted school librarian, Deb Jameson to avoid duplicating books. In late February the books arrived.

There were 72 books from the $1,200 grant and a surprise 24 additional math and science books that had been donated by Mr. Hal Berenson and Mrs. Laura Ackerman of Colorado. 

Patron Ed Hahn, attending the opening, said, “It’s exciting that kids still read library books and we have the volunteers to staff our library.” 

Volunteer Delores Van Boening summed it up by commenting, “This will have a tremendous impact on our library.”

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