Library Annual Appeal

Photo courtesy of Hingham public Library.

November 15, 2021 by Sara Mason

Coming Soon, To a Mailbox Near You…
Not to spoil the surprise, but it’s almost that time of year again! I know what you’re thinking; but no, the time of year I’m referring to is not related to turkeys, Santa or even Hanukkah candles. I’m talking about an opportunity to give back to a place that provides year-round joy and good will to all the residents of Hingham and many in the surrounding area. From our youngest tots to our oldest dear ones, this is a place that is always ready to fill our minds and our hearts with unlimited possibilities.

I myself have spent countless moments in this place for reasons ranging from concerts to story times when my kids were little. Over the years, I’ve attended meetings, receptions, classes and movies. I’ve borrowed books, art and household items. All for FREE. Hard to believe in this day and age, when NOTHING is free. Even when I’ve failed to return what I’d borrowed in a timely fashion, no one yelled at me or made me feel bad about it. The worst I ever had to do for penance was cough up a fee. But the kind folks at this incredible place have even eliminated the late fees!

Photo courtesy of Hingham Public Library.

Sounds too good to be true? I can assure you it’s not. This magical place exists right in the center of Hingham. You have probably guessed it: I’m talking about one of our town’s most beloved and highly utilized resources, our own Hingham Public Library.

You may be wondering why this is a special time of year for the Library. I’m writing to tell you our golden opportunity is here to say “Thank You” to the Library for everything it provides to us over the course of the year. That’s right, it’s time for the Library’s Annual Appeal, when the Library’s Board of Trustees reaches out to ask to all of us for our support. With our help, the Trustees can ensure the Library will continue to provide high-quality programming and resources in the coming year.

Photo courtesy of Hingham Public Library.

Why is the Annual Appeal so important? To answer that question, here is a little background you should know about the Library and its Annual Appeal:

1. In FY 2020, the Town's contribution to the Library budget was around $1.9 million. While that is a substantial sum, it translates to about 1.7% of the total Town operating budget of $111.7 million.
2. The Town’s portion of the Library budget covers about 90% of the Library’s operating expenses, but it falls significantly short of covering the total cost of books, materials and programs. The Trustees, through fundraising efforts and the endowment, pay for 75% of the Library’s annual collection expenses and 100% of the annual program expenses. Together, these expenses are more than $300,000 per year.
3. This is where you come in! The Trustees are asking for our help and support through the Annual Appeal.

So, even though some of your tax dollars are helping to fund the Library, much more is needed for the Library to continue functioning efficiently. As the Trustees like to point out, our Library serves a wider variety of people than any other Town service aside from public safety. Some people in Town never use the schools, Senior Center, Country Club, sports fields, or Bare Cove Park. “But everybody -- or at least every category of person -- uses the Library, from toddlers to nonagenarians,” says David Mehegan, former Chair of the Library’s Board of Trustees. “That is why I always say that the Hingham Public Library, for all that it is and does, is by far the greatest taxpayer bargain in the Town.”

Photo courtesy of Hingham Public Library.

You can help by taking a moment to read the Library’s Annual Appeal letter when it arrives in your mailbox and by joining me in supporting the Library Trustees in any way possible for you and your family. The Trustees will be grateful, and we will all benefit from the Library’s continued great service for everyone in our Town.

Sara Mason Ader is a freelance writer, editor and mother of three who lives in Crow Point. Her
favorite part of the library is the used bookstore on the first floor because you never know what
gem you might find there!

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