0% of $80,000 goal
October 12, 2023
Dear Friends of the Gordon Memorial Library,
The City of Sealy has deep roots in this historic area of Texas, and so does the Virgil & Josephine Gordon Memorial Library. We have been serving the community since 1979.
We are a unique hometown library and being a unique library presents distinct challenges and opportunities. The library is not a city or county library, as you commonly might expect, but a private library. Although we do receive some funds from organizations as well as the City of Sealy and Austin County, we are mainly funded by a special endowment from the Gordon Family. These funds have been the backbone of our ability to function. This support has been overwhelmingly valuable and it enables us to be operational without being a tax burden to the community. Simply put, at Gordon Memorial Library we are funded by generosity; that of the Gordon Family and of every individual, family, and corporate partner that donates or visits our library.
Gordon Memorial Library’s potential impact on our community. We have overhauled just about every aspect of the library. From the staff to the campus itself, the improvements are clear. The campus itself has changed, grounds are better maintained, the roof has been replaced, updated bathrooms, added more audio and technical equipment, an updated catalog system, and added more services that will be strengthening to our community. The cost of the improvements were just over $80,000.
Our sleepy little library is not sleepy anymore.
Our summer program was 8 weeks in total and often held more than 200 children per program! We have gone from serving on average 10 patrons a week to 800 in a month. On average we now issue more new library cards in one month that we would issue in a year. Is this all due to growth in our community? We don’t really think so, we see that locals are coming in for the first time in years, or first time ever, as we have been working so hard to meet the community needs.
A community library is a vital resource. Libraries foster literacy of all kinds and literacy is a critical factor in economic and social participation. The staff has often shared how the library has helped navigate barriers to education and employment. We are a vibrant neighborhood hub offering social interaction and shared cultural experiences. We provide public spaces to meet and build a stronger community. Our vision is to continue to improve upon this work and we believe we can get it done with you as our resource.
So let’s talk about hard numbers.
To operate the library, with what we think of as a most basic budget it is about $200,000 a year. That includes all staff, bills, maintenance of the building, insurances, books, programs, etc. This budget does not include major repairs, like replacing our 15 year old air condition system or replacing computers. Ideally, we would like to increase to a yearly operational budget of $250,000 to allow for a few more improvements. However at this time, that is not possible. Currently we fall short of our budget after donations from the City/County (averaging $30,000 yearly) and with local foundation support of $80,000 a year. We do have the Gordon Endowment to assist us but if we dip into the trust for $80,000 yearly, it will be depleted in three more years. Our goal is to stay at the $200,000 operational budget for a while, and additionally raise another $80,000 a year. Then hopefully we can restore the Gordon Endowment to a stronger position for long term security for the library. So are we asking you for $80,000? Of course not!
In honor of our upcoming 45th anniversary since our original charter, we would like to invite you to join our Club 45.
We would love to see a power partner core of donors who will pledge $1,000 or more a year. The pledge can be paid in one payment or via a monthly or quarterly donation. We would be happy to accept donations of any amount to our goal. Additionally we are planning a donor appreciation tree to be on display in the lobby. More details will be revealed on our website soon.
Can we count on you to join our Club 45? All donations to the library are fully tax deductible, and we hope you consider us in your charity giving. If you wish to meet with a board member for more discussion, we will be happy to share about our mission and goals with you. Some might think that libraries are a relic of days gone by, but we beg to differ. We invite you to spend some time here, if you have not done so lately, and see the powerful work we are doing by serving the community. Our community deserves a library that meets their needs.
You can donate here, stop by the library, or mail a check to Gordon Memorial Library, 917 North Circle Drive, Sealy, Texas 77474.
Terry Lynn Arnold
Virgil and Josephine Gordon Memorial Library Board Chair
Virgil and Josephine Gordon Memorial Library Manager