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Tuesday, August 9, 2022
NOTL library launches major fundraising drive

Planned Giving Program aims to have residents remember the library in their will


The Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library's newest program is not about books, community connections and activities for all ages.

It's actually all that and more – and Dave Hunter hopes to see a powerful reaction across the community.

The library is launching a Planned Giving Program, encouraging people to remember the library when they are drawing up their wills and doing estate planning.

Hunter, the chair of the committee, and two other donors are the first to contribute to the project, which they all hope will attract a lot of support for NOTL's library, an essential community hub.

“The Planned Giving Program bolsters several focus areas for the library by raising private funds for innovative multi-generational and cultural programs,” Hunter said.

Daryl Novak, Peter Gill and Hunter are the first to formally pledge funds as the Planned Giving Program kicks off during Ontario Public Library Week, Oct. 17-23.

“I heard about the Planned Giving Program that was in the works, about a year or so ago, and my wife and I were looking at redoing our will anyways,” Gill said.

They are already planning to donate to other organizations and “we’ve been supporting the library since we moved here 20 years ago, so it seemed like a natural fit.”

Gill said he and his wife are both avid readers who are delighted to support the library any way they can.

“Hopefully they won’t get the money for a long time,” he said with a chuckle.

In this month’s library newsletter, chief librarian Cathy Simpson noted, “Library services like the Makery are made possible with donations from organizations and individuals, including those who make planned gifts.”

Novak, who also happens to be chair of the NOTL library board, said libraries have a “complete, important relevance in today’s society” and hopes that more people can come to recognize the wide scope of resources available to support residents.

“It’s not just about research and finding a book, it's perfectly acceptable to go up to the librarian and say, 'I can't figure out how to get into this website.' That’s a perfectly reasonable question,” Novak said.

The board chair said during his work in public libraries for a large part of his career, one of the phrases used a lot was the library is a community hub.

“Libraries are serving this wonderful, evolving role, as being both a physical place – a physical safe place, a place with activities and programs for young people – and also being a community hub, about the community, but remotely as well,” Novak said.

And when people care enough about something within the community, they will rally behind it, Hunter said.

“At a time when everyone knows the pie isn't big enough – it doesn't matter how you slice it, all the slices of pie are all too small for everybody – so you’ve got to make your own pie,” he said.

He noted that Niagara-on-the-Lake has a large retirement community with “high-income but, really well-qualified, high-energy people.”

An important part of building community support behind these types of programs is having conversations with people you're close with, Hunter said.

“These two (Hunter and Novak) are both on the board and they’re both friends of mine, so, of course, when they get the initiative going they start talking to people,” Gill said. “So I got dragged into it, happily.”

Hunter added: “When you start to do something worthwhile, you talk about it with your friends and, if they’re inclined, they’ll do something. It’s not a cold call.”

While the NOTL Public Library has always been grateful to accept a commitment from someone, Hunter said he is hoping for widespread support once people learn more about the Planned Giving initiative.

As this program launches, the three donors are looking forward to sharing more information with community members interested in learning more.

Those looking for more information can contact chief librarian Cathy Simpson at