Is it there to make the city better? Is it there to create an opportunity for people or is it intended only to fund that person? We had our own grant fund, just like we always have. The reason it was so popular this year is because there was so much money in the city budget. So people felt there was a lot to gain from the grant money. A lot of folks didn’t know why we needed it.
The other part of the funding in 2016 was the creation of new funds, which were created because people were so interested in the project. So there is money to create the parks, to create the library in which to create the center of the library, so there are opportunities to get the libraries out there for everybody. But the purpose of that funding was mainly the creation of these new opportunities for people, not only for the projects, but also for people to access programs.
But there’s an issue with community outreach when you have grant funding. When you’re trying to build a community, there’s going to be lots of people around that you shouldn’t be meeting or talking with. So instead of having that meeting or that conversation, what you do is set up people who want to help you and they’ll go outside themselves through socials and meetings, maybe a block party or maybe a neighborhood association. But the truth is, you don’t need the money to make these events go on.
So we’re always working with community groups to see what programs they are interested in supporting and where they can come in. And our grant fund is very selective, so it’s like having an eye on what is going on in these neighborhoods. I like to give people the opportunity to meet me. I like to talk to these groups and see what the need is in these areas. As we create these programs, not only can I get my hands dirty, but it’s all about helping these people to see what they’re missing.
How many people at the Library are volunteers?
No one is on paid staff. Most staff are there at the library. We just want people to be there doing good things. And most of them can make at least one volunteer job a day.
You have this massive collection that is almost 2,000 books. So how did you maintain that?
We have books that are in storage and are stored there temporarily. There’s a lot of books from the early 1900s. The older books are a lot of books from the 1900s,
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