Methow Valley News, June 28, 2017

Originally appeared: New Non-profit Looks to Improve Winthrop Library

New nonprofit looks to improve Winthrop library

FriendsOfLibrary_5981.jpg

Photo by Don Nelson
Volunteers and supporters of the Winthrop library gathered for lunch on Monday.

Funding expected to come from private donations, grants

By Don Nelson

Friends of the Winthrop Library, a new nonprofit formed to support the library’s expansion and enhanced services, was publicly launched this week.

Shannon Huffman Polson, president of the group, said it is completing its application for 501(c)(3) status as a nonprofit, and will have a social media presence including website and Facebook page as of this week.

Polson said the group will seek private donations and foundation grants — not public funds — to support community-oriented programs and to eventually move the tiny, cramped library to a larger space.

The group is working with the North Central Regional Library system, which includes the Twisp and Winthrop libraries, to come up with feasible ideas for improved services at the Winthrop branch, Polson said.

The group’s officers hosted library volunteers and Winthrop librarian Sally Portman for lunch at Mack Lloyd Park on Monday (June 26) to talk about the nonprofit’s plans.

Polson said the library is a “central and important place” in the community that should a welcoming space for everyone in the valley.

The nonprofit’s board has been meeting weekly since the first of the year, Polson said.  Other board members are vice president Pat Leigh, secretary Sarah Berns and treasurer Nancy Juergens. The facilities planner is Rachel Macmorran, and Alisa Malloch is the organization’s volunteer coordinator.

In July, the new group will begin soliciting community input through informal conversations with focus groups, Polson said, to begin laying the groundwork for future efforts. There will also be a larger community-wide meeting, she said. “This has to be a community project,” she said.

“We’ll do a needs assessment phase now, and a feasibility phase next winter,” Polson said.

The existing library, one of the most heavily used in the state, needs not only more room for its collection, but also more services such as computers, internet access and space for community events, Polson said.

The library is a community institution whose services “cross all economic and demographic lines,” Polson said.

One short-term goal is to see if hours can be extended at the heavily used Winthrop library, Polson said. For more information, visit http://Winthroplibraryfriends.org.