Today's guest blog post is from Amber Herrera Rowley, director of the library in Linden, Iowa. Amber originally wrote this on her Facebook page and we loved it so much we just had to share it here. Welcome, Amber!
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So friends, I have some exciting news to share. This might get a little lengthy but I hope you'll take the time to read it in its entirety, because it affects entire communities.
You all know we've been struggling to drum up support for the library I work for in Linden, Iowa (pop. 226) over the past few years. There just hasn't been a lot in the way of funding to go around. Not much interest. Every one of the librarians, myself included, has more than once dipped into their own pockets to pay for books, supplies, healthy snacks, and more. Our library is not just the library. It is a safe place for kids to play in, it's a place where people come to catch the town news, it's a community center, a town hall, a place to come for help of any kind. Most of the people who live in Linden live at or below poverty level.
I will be the first to admit That I have dropped the ball because I have felt so disheartened. I have been considering stepping away. Then last week something amazing happened. A lady who lives in town got together with another lady with literary connections, hoping to get in touch with someone to get some free, up-to-date books that our patrons want to read. Currently we have about 7,000 books; some of which are 30 years old. They asked on behalf of three different libraries.
A message was sent out to an author, and this author/activist decided that a few boxes of free books just wasn't going to cut it. This author blasted her Twitter followers that there are still people within our own communities that need support. And then the magic happened. Her followers re-tweeted, and their followers re-tweeted, and so on and so forth. Tom Arnold has gotten involved. People began asking where to send books. Then they started asking what else was needed? So an Amazon Wish List was quickly thrown together. Then people started saying they wanted to send financial donations; so a GoFundMe account was set up. We set the goal at $1,000.
Then, we got a phone call.
The phone call was from The Alec Baldwin Foundation. They told us that we needed to raise our fundraising goal right away because they knew that $1,000 was going to be met by the end of the day, based on the Twitter response. They said "raise it up to $10,000." So we did.
In less than a week, more than $10,000 has been raised for the Linden Library and its community. I've been in tears off and on over the past week. This has fired me up to get my head back in the game and focused on what's important. I'm stunned, blown away, bowled over. I have no words. We have already received our first box of donated books.
This was nothing short of a miracle you guys. We at the library have been overwhelmed with gratitude and kindness, and reassured there are still good people in the world doing good things for communities in need.
If you're still reading this, thank you for listening. And if you feel like getting in on the action and would like to make a donation, you can do that here. Thank you for caring about my small community.