Construction of the new Crozet Library is a month ahead of schedule, according to Bill Schrader, who chairs the Build Crozet Library fund-raising committee, a team of 10 local citizens who are trying to raise $1.6 million to provide the building’s furnishings, computers, books and other contents. Unless the winter forces serious delays, the prospect of occupying the new building in September looks strong. As it looks now, Schrader said, library staff members should be able to start setting the library up in late July.
The fund drive has put $328,000 in the bank so far, Schrader said, not counting the $100,000 matching grant from Charlottesville’s Perry Foundation, awarded in October.
“We’re 75 percent of the way toward that match,” he said. “People were waiting for the Perry decision before they contributed so they could double their dollars.” Once the remaining $25,000 for the match is raised, the fund will hold $453,000.
Schrader said the committee now has 21 proposals before individuals and foundations that are considered sympathetic to the cause. In all, they total $957,000 in requests. “We pitch them with people who we think are likely to care about them. The Crozet Lions Club, for example, has made a donation for large print books and they are approaching their state and national organizations for help, too.
“We won’t get all 21 to say yes. That’s dreaming,” said Schrader. “But we have plans for where we’ll go next with the requests. It’s a continual process to find the right match for donors.” Schrader said he considers a 40 percent success rate with the proposals to be a good return. He is waiting for the Christmas season to be over before deciding on where to redirect requests. “Coming out of the business world, I’ve been a little amazed at how long it takes for some decisions to get made,” he said.
“I want to thank the committee,” he said. “They are making a lot of effort. They have day jobs and they still make things happen for the committee. They should be commended.
“The other group to thank is our western Albemarle residents. They have really responded. We’ve had over 200 individuals make donations so far. We knew there was a lot of support for Crozet Library and it’s confirmed by the donations we’re getting. It’s not just Crozet that’s responding, it’s the whole area, from Afton to North Garden.” Schrader said that a mailer sent to all area residents had produced an encouraging response.
“The Crozet business community has really supported us as well. The Mudhouse has hosted two events for the fund drive and Parkway Pharmacy has made an enamel lapel pin they sell to raise money for the library.”
Schrader said the library needs at least $1.3 million to open. Some of the sought-for money is intended for books and other items that can be bought after the opening. The fund is aiming to purchase 25 computers and eventually to achieve a collection of some 42,000 books.
Donors who contribute $1,000 will get their name engraved on a leaf on a metal sculpture of a tree that will be mounted on a wall in the foyer of the library. So far, there are 16 names to go on it.
A special sale through Barnes and Noble bookstore in Charlottesville in November netted $1,500 from people who used a checkout code that directed a percent of the sale to the fund. The drive also resulted in seven boxes of books that were bought at the store for the new library. The book donation program will run through the end of the year. “The Barnes and Noble folks are amazed at the support we’re getting,” Schrader said.
Fund raising events are being planned for the spring. Schrader said that if the dollar goal of the drive were divided among the number of area residents, a local family’s share would be $240.
Donations should be sent to the Crozet Library Furnishings Fund, c/o Friends of the JMRL, 1500 Gordon Avenue, Charlottesville, VA 2203. Checks should be made to Friends of the Library. Be sure to put “Crozet Library” in the check’s memo line. Or donate online at buildcrozetlibrary.org/give.