Let’s build a national library endowment together—share your ideas with us, just as the Pennsylvania farmers in the photo teamed up on the barn-raising.
How else to work toward the library endowment? The best way right now is to speak out—whether you’re a parent, student, other library patron, librarian, teacher, government, corporate or nonprofit leader, online or traditional journalist, or prospective donor or somebody close to one or simply willing to contact one in a civil way.
Also, you can volunteer if you have library, technical, organizational, or editorial expertise—or other skills—that we might be able use. Contact Corilee Christou at email@example.com and cc firstname.lastname@example.org.
No donations wanted from nonbillionaires. We are self-funded and have paid for this website and domain name ourselves. The actual endowment would be started by major philanthropists—the site is merely a roadmap for them. Once in existence, the endowment will rely entirely on donations from the super rich, so as to minimize competition for donations from other people and companies aiding local, K-12, and academic libraries. We believe that libraries should enjoy diversified funding.
Here’s an example of the letter you could use as a starting point. Write from the heart. Ideally localize your note and talk about your personal circumstances. Ask the super rich to organize and fund an Aspen Institute conference where prospective donors, librarians and others could create the endowment. If you want to contact Bill Gates, his email is email@example.com. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tips for reaching Gates and his foundation are here. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is at email@example.com. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is at firstname.lastname@example.org. Warren Buffett’s email address for the public is email@example.com, but he’ll probably respond much better to paper letters—his snail address at Berkshire Hathaway is 3555 Farnam St., Omaha, NE 68131. Bloomberg L.L. CEO Michael Bloomberg is at firstname.lastname@example.org. Google Co-founder Larry Page is at email@example.com. Sergey Brin, the other co-founder, is at firstname.lastname@example.org. Oracle founder Larry Ellison’s office is reachable through his company’s main phone number, 650-506-7000. Email addresses of other major CEOs in the U.S. are findable here.
Dear Ms. Influential or Mr. Philanthropist–
I’m writing to seek your support for a privately funded national library endowment. Here is the vision.
- Encouraging self-help, pride, civic engagement, economic development and social mobility, the library endowment will help all Americans, especially in depressed areas.
- The endowment will help pay librarians in cash-strapped communities and otherwise promote electronic and traditional reading.
- It will increase the $4 per capita that public libraries can spend on books and other items—but also help finance tech-related innovations like makerspaces.
- The endowment will help pay for two separate but intertwined digital library systems (one academic, one for public and K-12 libraries).
- Funding will come from interested members of the super rich, with matching grants used to spur on local library fund-raisers.
As a small-town mother who wants her six-year-old twins to love books and be prepared for the future workforce, I care deeply about these issues, and I hope you will, too.
For more details, go to LibraryEndowment.org.
Contact information for the endowment initiative is at https://libraryendowment.org/about/.
A good first step toward the creation of a multi-donor endowment would be an Aspen Institute conference attended by prospective donors, librarians and others.
Photo credit: Here.