Library could quadruple donations

Last November, Shelburne voters approved a $6.5 million bond to build a new Pierson Library. Since then, volunteers have been working to fundraise to lower the amount for the bond.

So far Shelburne residents have pledged $200,000 to the project, lowering the potential bond to $6.3 million.

The push isn’t over yet.

The library kicks off another phase of the campaign May 17, dubbed “Vermont Gives Day” by Common Good Vermont, an organization that supports local nonprofits.

For the remainder of the month of May, donations made to build the library will be quadrupled in two steps: First, the Friends of the Pierson Library group will match all donations; next, an anonymous donor to the library will double that matched amount. Last year, this donor pledged up to $500,000 in matches for library construction to help reduce the bond by $1 million.

Project supporters are working hard to maximize the match.

“We have found that the small donations have been adding up; this is an opportunity to quadruple anything,” said Cathy Townsend, chair of the Building Steering Committee who led the effort tied to Vermont Gives Day.

A similar effort last November shortly after Thanksgiving brought in $20,000 in smaller donations. That money was then doubled by the Pierson Library Trustees, and that $40,000 was then doubled by the anonymous donor.

All matches made by the Friends and the Trustees come from donations to both of those causes, Library Director Kevin Unrath said.

He explained that donations have been made to multiple groups connected with the project: the trustees as the official town governing body for the library, the friends group which consists of library supporters, and to the town.

Unrath explained that donations to the town directly are tax deductible in the same way they are to any nonprofit organization.

Donations of stocks and pledges also can be made to the library. There are also naming opportunities available within the library.

Fundraising is expected to continue through the end of the year, though construction is scheduled to start in July. The anonymous donor will continue matching donations until November, at which point, Unrath said, people from the library “can go back to the donor and see where they are at.”

At the start of construction, the town will bond for an initial $2 million in July, and take out a line of credit, town officials said. The the remainder of the bond will be done in January. That allows supporters the most time to raise money to apply to the final bond amount.

Meanwhile, final plans for the project are in final review stages for local permits. The lighting plan and landscaping plans are currently under revision after questions were raised at the May 2 Development Review Board meeting. The library was scheduled to return to the May 16 Development Review Board meeting after press time for the Shelburne News this week.

Soon the library will put out a call for volunteers to help move books and materials from Pierson Library to the temporary library space during construction, located across Harbor Road at the Shelburne Field House.

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