By DAVID GREEN
Fayette children’s library Denise Jensen didn’t think a foundation 2,400 miles away might care about a small-town library in northwest Ohio.
The Libri Foundation did care and Jensen is glad they did. Initially she was pleased simply because of all the work needed for the grant application. Now she has 63 new hardcover children’s books to add to the library’s collection.
The sole purpose of the Libri Foundation, based in Eugene, Ore., is to help small, rural libraries acquire quality children’s books that they probably wouldn’t be able to buy on their own.
Libri lists as its philosophy the belief that “children who learn to enjoy reading at an early age continue to read throughout their lives. In order to develop a love of reading, children must have access to books which stretch their imaginations, touch their emotions, expand their horizons.”
For many children, the local library is the primary source of reading material. At the same time, libraries are facing increasing financial difficulties.
Jensen learned about the foundation through the state library and decided to give it a try. She used $350 from the summer reading program funding for a matching grant.
With the donors’ approval, she used $250 from TRW and $100 from Lowell Beaverson for the match. Libri uses a two-for-one formula, resulting in a total of $1,062 worth of new books.
“These books are just incredible,” Jensen said. “They’re all hardcover books and many of them are award-winners.”
The books range from fiction for young teens to board books for the Wee Read program.
She’s especially pleased with the non-fiction selection since budget-cuts forced a hold on buying them.
Jensen learned last May that Fayette’s Normal Memorial Library was chosen to receive a grant and she made her choices over the summer from the reading list provided by Libri.
“I’m really looking forward to the kids getting these books,” she said. “They’re all books that kids are going to pick up and read.”
• The Libri Foundation has donated more than $3.5 million worth of books since its founding in 1990.
In 2008, three libraries from Ohio were chosen for grants and eight from Michigan.