New Year is good time to support local library

Fort Madison Public Library

FORT MADISON – Thank you to everyone who supported the library in 2020. So many people in the community support the library in a variety of different ways.

I was reminded of the many ways members of the community can support the library when I heard about the death of Aarin Guzman in December. Aarin was on the library board when I first came to Fort Madison 14 years ago and he continued to serve for several years after that. He was a part of the board that worked on raising funds for and constructing the new library building. After leaving the board, Aarin continued to be a frequent library patron and even helped us out with some weeding around the building a few summers. Aarin was kind enough to include the library in his will and we thank him for thinking of us.


If you are interested in supporting the library financially, there are several different ways to contribute. My favorite is to adopt a book or an author. Is there an author you love that you want to make sure keeps getting included in the library collection? Or have you been told about a book that you want to read but don’t want taking up space on your shelf? If you adopt the book, or author, the library will purchase the item (usually at a discounted price). After we have cataloged the item, the adoptee reimburses the library for the cost of the book and gets to be the first person to check that book out. In 2020, seven people adopted $530 worth of books total from someone adopting one book for $16 to another patron adopting many books for almost $400.

We do accept donations to our gift fund, as well. Money in the gift fund augments the budget we receive from the city, helps to purchase materials for the library collection and pays for special programs. In 2020, we received almost $5,500 in donations from Fort Madison Library patrons. You can also include the library in your legacy, as you think about your will, as Aarin Guzman did. If you have questions about how donations are used, or if you have a specific project or area of the library you would like the funds to be put toward you can discuss this with the library director, especially if you have any questions about library needs or programs.

There are many ways to help the library beyond donating financially. Residents can help the library by volunteering their time, as the Board of Trustees and our volunteers do. Volunteers donate their time shelving books and helping with special projects. Additionally, the Friends of the Library members donate their time and help raise funds, through regular book sales, to augment library services and help with special projects.

In case you have not heard, we are currently accepting book donations both for the library collection and for the Friends of the Library book sales. Because we need to quarantine all items coming into the library, we would ask that you limit your donation to two boxes or bags per week per household. We can take most books in good condition with the exception of textbooks, reference books and Reader’s Digest condensed books. We would also ask you to refrain from donating books that may have a mildewed or musty smell as these odors are hard to remove and can be a problem for employees and patrons with allergies. If you have books that are not eligible for donation but you don’t want to toss them in the trash, many books can be included with recycling.

How else can you help the library? I’ve said it before but it definitely bears repeating; send us the stories of how the library has made a difference in your life. It can just be one or two sentences but your stories help us to show the value of library services to our community. If you participate in a program or activity and it benefits you, let us know how so we can share that story with the library board and city and county government. On top of that, it makes us feel good knowing that what we have done has made a difference in someone’s life. We don’t always know about the person who got hired after we helped them submit an online job application or hear about how attending a Christmas program lifted a family’s spirits.

Again, a big thank you to everyone who is already supporting the library and has supported the library over the decades. If you have been looking for ways to start supporting the library, I hope this may have given you a few ideas of how to help us.

What’s All Booked Up! Reading in 2021?
The Girl Who Reads on the Metro by Christine Feret-Fleur – January 7
Siracusa by Delia Ephron – February 4
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – March 4
Chesapeake Requiem by Earl Swift – April 1
Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf – May 6
The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts – June 3
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware – July 1
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei – August 5
Caste by Isabel Wilkerson – September 2
Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King – October 7
Black Dahlia by James Ellroy – November 4
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin – December 2

Upcoming Events at the Fort Madison Public Library –
Masks are required to be worn in the library and at all in-person library programs.

1st Thursday @ the Library – January 7– Make the 1st Thursday of the month library day with no fines on overdue books returned that day, our book discussion group meeting at 1:30, the launch of our monthly Take and Make craft, a snow themed bookmark, and an evening program. In January, the evening program will be livestream journaling workshop. Ask journaling questions as library director, Sarah Clendineng, works on setting up her journal for the New Year.

Pre-School/Toddler Story Hour –Wednesday morning at 10:30

Thursday Crafternoon –Thursday, 3:30-5:00, for ages 14-adult. Spend some extra time working on a more in-depth craft for a whole month.

Hang Teen – Tuesday, 3:30-5:00 (except for January 12), for ages 12-19.

Minecraft –4:00-5:30, ages 9-18 on Mondays. Space is limited by the number of computers we have and we are not taking registrations this year, please arrive promptly.

Wacky Wednesday – School is out early on January 6, 13 and 27. We will have a craft day on January 6 and 27 from 2pm to 4pm. On January 13 at noon, Lee County Extension has a Jumping Bean STEAM activity.

All Booked Up! – The library’s book discussion group meets on the first Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m. On Thursday, January 7, we will be discussing “The Girl Who Reads on the Metro” by Christine Feret-Fleury. On Thursday, February 4, we will be discussing “Siracusa” by Delia Ephron. Copies of the book are available at the library for check out. Join us for a lively discussion.

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