Anonymous donor starts Yolo County Library Foundation

Mark Fink, Yolo County Librarian, announced the launch of a new foundation to support the Yolo County Library.
Yolo County Library Foundation Board meeting in Woodland. From left, Sally Brown, Treasurer, Winters; ViceChairperson Camille Chan, Davis; Chairperson Lynnel Pollock, Yolo; Secretary Chris Chase, Woodland; Librarian Mark Fink, West Sacramento; and Sharon Hallberg, Davis. Mary Stephens-DeWall was in Australia. Photo by Margaret Burns.

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By Margaret Burns Mark Fink, Yolo County Librarian, announced the launch of a new foundation to support the Yolo County Library. “An anonymous donor saw the need for system wide support of the Yolo County Library, to supplement what local Friends of the Library organizations can do, and gave a donation of $25,000 to begin this effort,” he said.  “This was initiated before I accepted the position of county librarian.” Mary Stephens-DeWall, former Yolo County Librarian, said the donor asked her and Camille Chan, a longtime library advisor, and Patty Wong, Yolo County Librarian at the time, to create a mechanism to use donations to benefit the whole system. Sally Brown, Winters resident, is spearheading the public launch of the Yolo County Library Foundation that will be held Wednesday, May 1 at The Palms Playhouse in Winters. Over the past two years, the Yolo County Library Foundation (YCLF) has been set up as an independent nonprofit – a 501(c) 3 – for tax purposes.   Funds are managed by the Yolo Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation. The governing board of YCLF is composed of Chairperson Lynnel Pollock; Vice Chairperson Camille Chan, ex-officio non-voting member; Secretary Chris Crist; Treasurer Sally Brown; Mark Fink, Yolo County Librarian; Mary Stephens-DeWall, ex-officio non-voting member; and Sharon Hallberg, member and liaison to the Library Advisory Board. Stephens-DeWall explained that neither Yolo County nor the Library is equipped to handle all kinds of donations. She remembers, acutely, as librarian, the library received a gift of $5,000 in stock. It took Yolo County over a year to figure out how to sell the stock and give the proceeds to the library. The Yolo County Library Foundation and its affiliation with the Yolo Community Foundation and the Sacramento Region Foundation can do that. Fink sees the foundation as an excellent way for the Library to explore new technologies, make grants available for pilot projects or make resources available to smaller libraries. He emphasizes, “This foundation will not do any of the functions that the Friends of the Library groups do so well.” Hallberg, former Davis High School librarian, puts it succinctly: “A library is the living room of the community.” Not only can any library member access 1.3 million items in the Yolo County system, they can go online, use free WiFi, use a 3-D printer and get help with a job resume, among many more services. According to Fink, Yolo County Library’s mission is to provide access for all to ideas that inform, entertain, and inspire. The Library’s $9 million annual budget funds 39.3 full-time equivalent permanent staff, as well as temporary or limited-term work assignments for another 100 people. In 2018 the residents of Yolo County borrowed 1.2 million items, made 740,000 visits to eight branches, attended more than 3,000 free programs for people of all ages and provided 15,000 volunteer hours of service to support the Library’s mission.   Official launch of the Yolo County Library Foundation will take place on May 1, at 6 p.m. at The Palms Playhouse in Winters.  Featured speakers for the evening will be James and Deborah Fallows. The Fallows are self-proclaimed lovers of libraries and consider them of paramount importance to the vitality of a community.  Their book, Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America, featured a chapter on Winters. An autographed copy is included in the ticket price of $20. Tickets will be available on the website in mid-March.]]>

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