The Royersford Free Public Library is calling on local residents and other supporters to help with its annual fundraising drive. The library sends out an appeal each year, but this year budget cuts on both the municipal and county levels are threatening the library more than in the past.
“It would devastate the library system if it’s cut in the budget,” library board member Tom Thunstrom said.
Thunstrom said massive cuts to the library’s funding don’t just affect the libraries in our immediate area.
“This would impact other libraries that are independent of the Montgomery County – Norristown system,” Thunstrom said. “For example, the Lower Providence library [which is not part of the county system] would have trouble getting books on interlibrary loan.”
The annual appeal usually requests donations from supporters for any amount. This year, a donor stepped forward and offered to make a $1000 donation if the library could raise $9000 on its own.
In the past, Thunstrom said, “we needed it [the funding] but didn’t know how much,” Thunstrom said. “This year someone stepped forward and said they’d get us to $10,000 if we raised $9000.”
However, the annual appeal was already going on before the Royersford borough council and the county commissioners proposed cutting the library’s funding completely in its budget.
So far, the library has raised $7261.17 of the $9000.
“Initially, it was just to help us maintain,” Thunstrom said of the appeal. Now, the funds are needed to help with the basic expenses that the library incurs on a day-to-day basis.
Cuts would affect the library’s ability to purchase new books or conduct events like their summer reading programs.
In an e-mail to library supporters, children's librarian Nancy Niggel wrote, "As a branch library, Royersford Free Public Library will no doubt face closing if this budget goes through."
While the library does many events for children, there are adults in the area who also would suffer.
“Many people come in and use the library computers to job-search and write resumes in addition to researching and reading news,” Thunstrom said.
Thunstrom also said that the library is much more than just a place to get books.
“It’s really a community center. Most people think of it as a community center, and so many people use it,” Thunstrom said.
The library board hopes that getting the word out about this situation will help them raise the money they still need and more.
“We need all the help we can get,” Thunstrom said.