Town and library close to signing deal in public ceremony
The town of Wareham, Wareham Free Library, the Friends of the Free Library and the Wareham Free Library Foundation are a step closer to ensuring the library will regain its state certification.
On Tuesday, Selectmen and library officials met to discuss an agreement that spells out how the different groups will work together. The agreement will officially be signed in the coming months during a ceremony. The agreement is still in its draft phase. No date has been set for the signing.
The partnership's goals are to re-certify the Wareham Free Library and for the long-term sustainability of the library. The Friends of the Free Library and the Wareham Free Library Foundation are organizations created specifically to support the library and are run by volunteers.
In 2014, the library lost its certification following budget cuts. Without state certification, the library cannot received state funding and the town cannot apply for federal and state grants available for libraries. Additionally, library directors in other towns can choose not to participate in sharing books and materials with uncertified libraries.
According to the agreement, the town will help the library seek funding, maintain community needs, and meet standards of the requirements of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to regain certification.
The Library Foundation and Friends of the Free Library will kickstart a comprehensive fundraising effort to raise an endowment of $2.5 million from private citizens, businesses or philanthropic entities over the next five years. During the time pledges by donors are being fulfilled, the foundation will also seek to raise $500,000 for operating costs.
The agreement also has a clause that would eventually allow the foundation and the Friends of the Library to support some portion of the library’s budget each year through fundraising efforts.