Fundraiser nets $30,000 for library

By NATHAN VOELLER/Montana State News

The Bozeman Public Library Foundation’s fifth annual Cornerstone Celebration raised a record $30,000 for library related activities, according to Foundation Director Paula Beswick.

Beswick said the money raised at the Cornerstone Celebration will be used for programs and services the foundation provides for the people of Bozeman. In 2012, the Bozeman Public Library Foundation provided 135 programs for the public.

“We do all kinds of programs: even college prep courses,” said Beswick.

Jack Kligerman, a volunteer at the library, listed public book readings, book clubs, music performances, art openings, reading programs for children and computer services as some of the offerings of the library. He said he is personally grateful for the opportunities such offerings provide for community members.

“Life without the library would be too isolated,” Kligerman wrote.

According to Beswick, the Bozeman Public Library Foundation is devoted to ensuring that users of the library have the best possible programs available after contributors donated almost $6 million to construct a new library building. The new building opened its doors to patrons in November of 2006, according to the Bozeman Public Library’s official website.

“We felt like we needed to prove to the community why they donated almost $6 million,” said Beswick.

Ticket sales and raffle items were two methods used at the celebration to obtain money for library programs and services, Beswick said. A record 203 people purchased event tickets sold for $75 each or $125 for a pair, and many purchased tickets for the raffle as well.

The Cornerstone Celebration also served as the kick-off of Todd Wilkinson’s book “Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet,” which provided other fundraising opportunities. According to Beswick, the Country Bookshelf agreed to donate 20 percent of “Last Stand” sales made at the Cornerstone Celebration to the Bozeman Public Library Foundation.

To raise additional funds, Mike Phillips, the executive director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund, auctioned off a guided tour of Ted Turner’s Flying D ranch south of Bozeman with all proceeds going to the library. The winning bidder agreed to pay $6,000 for the tour.

David Quammen, recipient of the 2013 Cornerstone Award for his contributions to local learning and author of the critically acclaimed book “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic,” said the library is one of the most important institutions in Bozeman. He equated its worth with other places of learning like Montana State University, the Museum of the Rockies and Country Bookshelf.

“I love this community because I love books, and therefore I love this library,” said Quammen.

Quammen also said the library brings community members together to experience learning in a way which would not be possible in its absence.

“The Bozeman Public Library gives us all of this,” said Quammen, gesturing at the fundraiser attendees, books and computers surrounding him.

Wilkinson expressed similar feelings about the library’s position as one of Bozeman’s foundational institutions. He said Bozeman would be a different place without its library.

“Imagine if this place wasn’t here,” said Wilkinson.

– Edited by Michele McDonald.

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