Last night, the library expansion team gave a farewell party for Lisa Jepson Wahlstrom. She is the founder and principal of Ovation Fundraising Counsel, an organization that works “with nonprofit organizations throughout Maine helping them to increase their fundraising capacity, engage their constituencies, and strengthen their volunteer base.”
For the past few years, Lisa has worked with us on the library’s expansion campaign, and it’s no exaggeration to state that we couldn’t have run a successful expansion campaign without Lisa’s expertise, organization, firm guidance, and good cheer. We have had our ups and downs, but Lisa was always upbeat and encouraging, patiently leading us toward our goal—the addition.
However, the time has come for the expansion team to strike out on its own. As Lisa put it last night, we have about $150,000 left to raise, and we know what to do—more grant writing, more fundraising events, more appeals for donations. We also have a wonderful campaign team, and as we said our sad goodbyes to Lisa, I got a strong sense from the other team members that they would continue to help with the campaign, and a good thing, too. We certainly need them.
Where there is a party, there is food, of course, and the campaign team not only loves libraries but tasty food as well. We put on a pretty good spread, if I do say so myself, and there were lots of yummy tidbits—deviled eggs, artichoke squares, spinach balls, a hot cheese dip, and other good things to eat. I brought my homemade crackers and a rosemary-olive cream cheese spread.
Joan and Bill Wing generously agreed to host the party at their home overlooking the lake. They have a large living room with a lovely view of the water, and while we ate and talked, the water rippled and sparkled as the sun set.
Naturally, the conversation revolved around libraries—their importance in today’s society despite the dominance of computers, big and small. As I mentioned in a previous post, people are still reading books. The love of story runs deep in our species, and while I hope paper books endure—nothing can replace their feel and smell—I have no doubt that as long as there are people, there will be stories.
And there will be libraries—the repositories of information, ideas, and stories—available to all who live in a town, area, or city. You don’t have to be rich to have a library card. You don’t have to come from a prominent family. Libraries are for everyone, and as such they couldn’t be more vital to our society.