MEDIA COVERAGE: Friends of the Venice Library embark on $1.3 million capital campaign

Friends of the Venice Library embark on $1.3 million capital campaign

By Earle Kimel, Staff Writer, SARASOTA HERALD TRIBUNE
Posted Nov 24, 2017 at 3:12 PM

VENICE — The Friends of The Venice Library recently launched the first phase of a $1.3 million fundraising effort designed to outfit the city’s new library. A variety of naming opportunities are available for donors seeking to make their mark in the new facility. The campaign started Nov. 17, with a kick-off luncheon hosted at the Venetian Golf & River Club that featured Janet Snyder Matthews, author of “Venice: Journey from Horse and Chaise.”

Since then Camille Cline, a board member of the Friends who stepped away from that position to become the fundraiser, has spoken to a variety of groups to showcase the types of naming opportunities available for donors seeking to make their mark by claiming a portion of the new William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public Library. Cline is scheduled to present an update on the capital campaign to the Venice City Council at its Nov. 28 meeting.

“What we think is really special, and I hope I can highlight this to you, is the fact that there aren’t a whole lot of Sarasota County government buildings that are built brand new, accessible to everyone — little kids, adults, seniors — where people can put their names on things,” Cline said. “Although Dr. Jervey’s gift was exactly what’s needed and very, very important for us, it’s just the start of our campaign.” Jervey, a retired University of Central Florida professor, has committed $1 million to create an endowment for the new library. Jervey’s donation is separate from the Friends’ fundraising drive, but it is one of several that will help ensure that the library is outfitted properly for the community.

At the library’s Oct. 30 groundbreaking, a $100,000 donation by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation was made public — the foundation claimed sponsorship of a 135-seat public meeting room with its donation. On that same day, Deborah Kostroun, president of the Friends of the Venice Public Library, revealed that the Friends were committing $350,000 as the cornerstone of the capital campaign.

At first the Friends had planned on an $800,000 fundraising goal but that was raised when they decided to ensure that maintenance for the namesake items, as well as programs, should be covered. A capstone stretch project of solar panels for the roof — estimated to cost $352,000 — pushed the ambitious goal to just under $1.3 million in about a year. (The library is scheduled to open in late 2018.)

Cline said realistically the solar roof would likely come from a large corporate benefactor. But there are plenty of opportunities for groups or individuals to contribute. For example, the Farley Literary Landmark — a rotating display of memorabilia from the late Walter Farley, author of the “Black Stallion” series who, along with his wife Rosemary, were instrumental in founding the library — will be located in a prominent place just inside the lobby. A $103,000 gift would provide exhibit fixtures, maintenance and programming for middle and high school students. “We’re excited that we’re going to have the saddle and the typewriter and all of the things of Walter Farley back and more centrally located,” Cline said. The old display was tucked away by the children’s reading area.”

Another high profile opportunity involves sponsorship of the library Skylight and a Compass Rose for $130,000. There’s a hope that the Compass Rose would be a complement to the John Nolen Plan Compass Rose. But the sponsor would have design input. At the same time, if nobody steps forward to sponsor the Compass Rose, there won’t be one. The Friends hope to raise another $129,000 in programming support for everything from live music and film series to homebound outreach and teen activities. Donors can sponsor one or multiple programs. Naming right for gifts of $50,000 and greater have to be approved by the Sarasota County  Commission. While the county sponsors some programming as well as some outside nonprofits such as Forty Carrots Family Center, most of the programs at the library are paid for by Friends.

Other areas available for private funding include a reading garden and fountain for $100,000; the teen area and creation station for $55,000; a children’s area for $50,000; car charging stations for $46,000; the Friends Bookstore for $24,000 and a portable technology lab for $15,000. Just as it is in the new Shannon Staub Library on the campus of Sarasota Technical College in North Port, one of the more intriguing aspects of the new library will be the creation station. “We want this to be one of the most used rooms in the library; we want people to learn,” Cline said, then referred to Venice Mayor John Holic’s speech at the library groundbreaking, when he called the library a learning center several times.

The Friends’ fundraising campaign is designed to help ensure that the library will feature speakers and be populated by experts who can help people learn new technology, but at the same time preserve the written word.
“We don’t know what readers are going to be reading on in the future,” Cline said. “We just know that we want to preserve the reading culture.”