The Friends of the Kinston-Lenoir County Public Library is again holding a raffle to raise money to fund enhancements in library programming. The Friends will kick off the spring edition of the “I Love My Library!” raffle on April 12.
This raffle format developed after COVID impacted many elements of our community’s life. In addition to schools, churches, restaurants, and stores taking financial hits, the Friends also saw its fundraising efforts thwarted.
To counteract the effects of the pandemic, the Friends put together its first “Love Your Library!” raffle. The donation per ticket is still $50. Make your check payable to Friends of the Library. The online drawing will occur at 10 am on Saturday, May 14, 2022. You do not need to be present to win. Only 125 tickets are for sale.
The top prize is $1,000. The winner or winners will be contacted by the phone number listed on the ticket stub submitted for the drawing. The winner or winners will be issued a check for the total amount. In the event of multiple winners, the Friends will give a check to each winner. When you buy your ticket, include an accurate and working phone number.
In addition to the grand prize, other tickets will win virtual “door prizes.” Two of those prizes will be a copy of each of my books: “My Wife Has All the Answer” and “Sprinkling Stardust: The Delights of Grandchildren.”
Why should you support this fundraiser?
The answer is simple: The mission of the Friends of the Library is to support our local public library and thereby enrich our community. Let me provide a little context.
From 1999 through April 15, 2015, the Kinston-Lenoir County Friends of the Library raised $261,828.00 in memberships and donations. That money funded, on average, 30 programs each year, nearly 500 programs over these 16 years. From July 2013 through June 2014, about 26,000 people attended programs sponsored by the Friends. From July 2018 through June 2021, more than 73,500 people attended Friends-sponsored programs.
When tough economic times hit, the public library becomes critical to the lives of local citizens. After all, patrons can use most library resources without charge. Few organizations in our community are as open to all residents as the public library.
Library services supported by the Friends have evolved to keep pace with technology and Internet development. You may be surprised at some of the services offered at your public library now. In addition to traditional materials like books and audiobooks, DVDs, games, and periodicals, our public library provides extensive eBook, eMagazine, and eAudiobook collections through the e-iNC and NC KIDS digital libraries. These electronic resources are accessible through NC LIVE.
Our library has partnered with the local school systems in its three-county service area to give every child a library account tied to the student’s ID number. Students can check out materials and download eBooks to their school devices. The library also provides laptops and personal hotspots for checkout and offers activities with exciting new technologies, such as 3D printing and virtual reality.
These advancements in services our public library provides have received more than local attention. The Neuse Regional Library system, headquartered here in Kinston, is one of 15 libraries nationwide in contention for the nation’s highest honor. The National Medal recognizes museums and libraries that demonstrate significant impact in their communities. For more than 25 years, the award has honored institutions that demonstrate excellence in community service.
Your support is an investment that pays rich dividends to our community. Since 2018, the Kinston-Lenoir County Friends of the Library has helped fund programming that includes musical acts, lectures, and community celebrations. Many of these programs are specifically for our community’s youngest members, including storytelling festivals, STEM enrichment programming, early literacy programs, bookmark contests, and visits from museums and other educational institutions.
Our library is opening doors to new opportunities for local patrons of all ages. The support of the Friends of the Library helps make those opportunities possible.
You can donate to this fundraiser by stopping at the circulation desk or asking a Friends board member. I have five tickets with a burning desire to leave my envelope and get into your pocket. If I run out of tickets, I can get a few more. Contact me.
But remember: Only a limited number of tickets – 125 – are available. The drawing is roughly one month away. The time to act is now.
Mike Parker is a columnist for the Neuse News. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.