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Franklin libraries seek $75,000 in fund-raiser

August 01, 2000

Franklin libraries seek $75,000 in fund-raiser



By MARC G. AUBER / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Franklin County Library System administrators want to raise $15,000 more than last year to help support the system's five county libraries.

The campaign goal this year is $75,000.

"This is a mail campaign," Executive Director Cliff Farides said. "We sent out several thousand letters to people and businesses that have donated in the past."

He said the campaign drew about $60,000 last year and that nearly 90 percent of all pledges tend to be $100 or less.

"We get a lot of small donations that really help," Farides said. "I like that, too, because it shows that we have a pretty good range of community support."

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He said as of the last count, about $30,000 has been raised since the mail campaign began June 1, adding, "so I think $75,000 is obtainable this year."

The Franklin County Library System, which serves about 43,300 registered patrons, had a circulation in 1999 of more than 408,000 books, audio and video tapes and compact discs among others.

About 8,500 new items were added to the system in 1999 and administrators are hoping that inventory will continue to grow in 2000. They said money is the key to supporting their efforts.

"I can see right now that is going to be about 9,000 items this year," Farides said. "With help from the state, we are required to spend 12 percent of our budget or a 5 percent increase every year in the materials that we purchase."

He said the $75,000 goal represents about one month's operation costs throughout the system.

The system provides Franklin County residents with services including, but not limited to, story time for children, access to computers, photocopying, summer reading clubs and adult book discussions.

Officials are also concerned with maintaining the county's bookmobile.

"This year we are trying to upgrade our bookmobile services," Farides said. "That basically serves anywhere that we don't have a library - more rural parts of the county."

Administrators say that although Franklin County libraries provide the public with endless services, the system is not about books, magazines, computers and tapes. It is about people.

The administrators say that with a solid library system, children have a better chance at developing reading and communication skills, providing residents with a better quality of life.

"We are trying to be a safety net for people's information needs," Farides said.

Officials feel that if the campaign is successful, the Franklin County Library System will be better prepared for the 21st century.

"We really try to be an old-fashioned library with a modern touch," he said. "We have plenty of books, but we also have adequate computers."

The Franklin County Library System is comprised of two libraries in Chambersburg and one each in Greencastle, Pa., St. Thomas, Pa., and Fort Loudon, Pa.

Campaign organizers request that information about donations may be obtained by calling 717-263-1054.

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