How is the Buhl Public Library Funded?
Why is there a need?
The Buhl Public Library has joined the Idaho Gives program because libraries across the country are being challenged by increasing requests for materials and service while experiencing declines in all sources of major revenue. City funding only covers part of the library’s operations; the rest is from bequeaths in perpetuity.
The U.S. public library movement was stimulated by wealthy philanthropists who made their fortunes in American industry. Steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie was one of them. When Carnegie was a poor Irish immigrant working in the cotton mills in Pennsylvania, he was given access to the private library of Col. James Anderson because there were no public libraries. Carnegie’s impact on the growth of public libraries in America and abroad was his way of giving back. Carnegie knew knowledge was priceless and so was access to it.
Libraries break down the barriers of information between the “haves” and “have-nots.” They provide open access to information of all kinds and help cross the emerging digital divide. As we move to an information society and the needs for information increase, the library needs to play an even more important role in the future.
The Buhl Library has expanded its programming, outreach, partnerships, technology and efforts to be the “heart” of the community. The library has developed more community programs for adults, from book talks to craft programs; from financial programs to health programs; from history programs with local experts on the Titanic to humanities programs like Let’s Talk About It, cowboy poetry and also adult summer reading programs.
The library has developed a successful teen program, TAG. There is now also a teen summer reading program and special teen programming connected to cultural phenomena and books. The children’s programs too, have evolved, like the annual El Dia de Los Niño’s (Day of the Child) parade, two children’s summer reading programs, one including the Buhl Boys & Girls Club, and the after school Famous Fabulous Bookworms club for children grades 1-5.
The library also took up the challenge of becoming a technology hot spot. The library is helping support job efforts with more computers for patrons and technology classes, a digital coach, job listings and links to job sources with partner the Idaho Department of Labor, along with a collection of materials to support everyone from job seekers to entrepreneurs, to seniors just trying to keep up with technology.
The Buhl Library was created primarily with community support. It has grown and expanded over almost 100 years, since 1916, to become the library it is today. Without that support there would probably not be a library in Buhl. An without continued sustained funding, there might not be the variety of programs, materials, or even a library in the future. It bodes well for the future when the community over the long term has sustained and enhanced one of its most valuable assets.
Because of all the things libraries do and all the contributions libraries make to their communities economic and educational well-being, it makes sense in hard times to invest in libraries. Hard times are when libraries are needed most and when their usage increases, when everyone in the community can benefit from their resources. Everyone can share in the wealth, whether they use the library once in five years or come in five days a week, every week.
Together we all make the library a vital part of the community and together we reinvest in each other. We insure that the institution will be there when “whoever” needs it. The Buhl Public Library — for a small investment over time, there is a big reward.