How The Alternatives Library Will Adapt in 2019
If we didn’t exist, the kinds of books we carry and topics we pursue would not be as widely available to the public as they are right now.
When a student searches “US foreign policy” our books are part of the results in 33 libraries in the region. When a new homeowner wants to learn about “gardening” or “energy” our books are part of those results.
When someone wants to learn about reproductive health, compassionate communication, racial justice, queer identity, ecology, Buddhism, or the history of this region, our books will show up in the search results in their local library.
When a prisoner, at any prison in the U.S. is looking for connection, healing, reading materials, and someone who simply cares – our programs are available for them and they will receive a response.
There are countless stories of people whose lives were transformed because of materials they discovered through the Alternatives Library.
But you know libraries are important, so who am I kidding?
And you know that this library is especially important, that’s why you’re reading this. You know the value of a diverse and progressive collection like ours – and you know how important it is that we create a way for you to keep it going.
Today, one day before our event, we’re facing some new challenges for 2019, challenges that cut our budget for buying new books – and we’re reaching out to you with a goal of having 100 supporters by the end of 2018. Supporters of any kind, any level, right now, possibly you?
Durland Alternatives Library, from 1974 – 2018?
Every organization faces the brutal reality that if they don’t adapt to changing times, if they don’t have the support of their friends, that if they aren’t making a meaningful difference… well, they could shut down or simply fizzle out.
You deserve the truth – This week, right in the middle of planning our fundraising dinner, we realized that we will no longer have a budget for adding new books to the collection in 2019. For years we had a reliable acquisitions budget (small, but reliable) and we even had extra funds to sponsor organizations that reached out to us for support. But over the past 3 years our endowment funding dropped by over $15,000.
At the same time as funding decreased, our programs have grown 10x in the past 2 years.
You will notice the library is now an events venue with a self serve cafe.
You will notice that the space has become a hub of student activism and organizing, and a favorite study space for many.
You will notice that almost every evening during the week we have a dozen volunteers reading and responding to letters from prisoners who are participating in the Prisoner Express program.
If you were familiar with our previous smaller location, you’d remember there were only 2 chairs in the library. Two chairs! Now there are at least 40 chairs!
This is what we’ve been working toward all along
Last year we celebrated our grand re-opening and over 200 people stopped by to celebrate – and things have been taking off for us.
And yet we’re faced with the stark reality that if we don’t adapt, we won’t be able to seize this moment of opportunity and energy that exists in our new space with our new volunteers.
Will you join us? Will you become a member of the Durland Alternatives Library?
For the first time, you’re invited to become a Friend of the Alternatives Library, and our goal is that you will be one of 100 “friends” who pitch, buy us a book, etc…
IMPORTANT: you can pitch in any amount to become a friend. What matters is that we reach our first 100 people.
Like you read at the beginning of this email, there are important books that wouldn’t be available unless Alternatives Library stocks them. This way they show up on interlibrary loan for keyword searches. We play a critical role in connecting people to the resources they need – including other organizations.
As a friend of the Alternatives Library, you make the organization more resilient, adaptive, and flexible to the challenges ahead.
- As a friend you help to create a community owned collection of books and other materials.
- As a friend you help create a space for young people to learn about alternatives and be inspired by the many possibilities that exist outside the mainstream.
- As a friend of the Alternatives Library you will help us partner with independent booksellers to stock our shelves, and strengthen the work of independent publishers as well.
- As a friend, you also help our efforts to serve thousands of prisoners incarcerated in the U.S. prison system with our Prisoner Express newsletter and correspondence programs.
- As a friend you will be deeply appreciated by the library staff and volunteers for the role you played in making all of this possible.
- As a friend you get some pretty cool library goodies. Buttons, calendar, dandelion mugs, oh my!