Library staff applies creativity to fundraising for Gulf Coast colleagues

Contact: Larra Clark

ALA Media Relations

For Immediate Release

April 26, 2006

Library staff applies creativity to fundraising for Gulf Coast colleagues

(CHICAGO) Hundreds of librarians and library staff members - in communities big and small - have pitched in to raise funds for the American Library Association (ALA) Katrina Relief Fund and directly for "sister libraries" in the ALA Adopt A Library program. As part of an ongoing series, the ALA will share examples of how U.S. libraries are making a difference in the region, including creative fundraising efforts.

Amesbury Public Library in Amesbury, Mass., kicked off National Library Week with a 1950s-style dance to raise funds for its adopted library - Lakeshore Library in Jefferson Parish, La. In addition to the required dance music, the event also featured bubble gum blowing and hula hoop contests. Teen volunteers provided the decorations and helped throughout the evening, which raised $3,400. The library's Friends group plans to donate all of the funds raised from used book sales in April, as well as funds from the "conscience jar" for donations for overdue books.

Yalesville Elementary School in Wallingford, Conn., announced its gift of more than $8,000 for adopted school St. Martin's Upper Elementary in Ocean Springs, Miss., during National Library Week. Students at the two schools were able to "meet" each other through a live feed Web camera on April 7. Library media specialist Dianne Kimball led her students in a (stuffed) dog show, a dress-down day, hat day, digital bookmarks to keep track of students' reading and coin collection days - to name a few.

The University of Rochester raised more than $5,000 through a series of events called JambaLibrary during Mardi Gras. The university library teamed with the Inter-faith Chapel, the Black Student Union, the Frederick Douglass Institute and the College Writing Center to raise funds and co-sponsor events ranging from a jazz event in the recently renovated man library to a book sale. Related lectures included "Abandoned in a Wasteland: Katrina, Anarchy, and America's Poor" and "Hey Now!: Musical Maestros Professor Longhair & Clifton Chenier." Funds raised benefited Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO), a historically black university.

Tufts University also celebrated Mardi Gras and raised funds for SUNO in February. Called Jumbo-laya in honor of the school's elephant mascot, the school hosted raffles, contests and "floats" of decorated book carts. Local businesses donated raffle prizes, and more than $1,200 was raised.

Mardi Gras @ the library: Perspectives on the People and Culture of New Orleans was the theme for the University of Louisville's (Kentucky) fundraising and learning event. Professors in eight disciplines discussed everything from bioethics and public health to social work and anthropology. Students from the art department created paintings based on the New Orleans theme for a silent auction and other students selected and made prints from the library's photographic archives. The auction and print sales raised more than $1,700 for the Louisiana Library Disaster Relief Fund.

Scottsdale (Ariz.) Public Library had its heart on its sleeve for a Valentine's Day fundraising campaign from February 1 to 14. More than $1,600 was raised for New Orleans Public Library with red donation boxes at each of the library's service desks and promotion through the library's Web site, calendar of events and the local cable show.

Other creative fundraising approaches that raised $1,000 or more include:

  • Enoch Pratt Free Library (Baltimore, Md.) raised $1,000 through "Hurricane Library Relief: A Confederacy of Writers and Musicians" with local authors, a jazz band and New Orleans poet Kalamu ya Salaam.

  • Jefferson-Madison Regional Library (Charlottesville, Va.) raised $1,000 through a special event with original writing from teens and readings with children.

  • Camden County (N.J.) Library System raised more than $1,000 when staff members donated funds for the pleasure of wearing jeans to work.

For more information about ALA hurricane relief efforts, please visit More information on how libraries have helped (including book sales and book drives, technical assistance and preservation) will be shared in coming weeks.