Now in its second year, “Love Your Library,” a county-wide initiative developed by the Allegheny County Library Association and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, provided a way for residents to “show their love” to their local library. During the month of September, all donations made to more than 46 area library systems went even further.
In the second annual “Love Your Library” county-wide matching gift campaign, Allegheny County libraries raised $629,970 in eligible funds, nearly $100,000 more than last year. Each library received a match of 24 cents on the dollar, thanks to the $150,000 in matching funds from the Jack Buncher Foundation. Thirty-four county libraries saw an increase in giving over the same period last year.
Many libraries used the “Love Your Library” campaign to kick off year-end giving, the time when nonprofits typically receive the largest number of their donations. Contributions made during the month help to maintain valued library services. Although libraries traditionally have received public funds to support basic operations, state funding for libraries has been reduced or remained flat for much of the past decade. Local funding for libraries in Allegheny County varies greatly from one municipality to another. Many libraries have increased their efforts to raise funds from individuals, corporations and foundations, relying more on such philanthropic support to fund essential library services, improve facilities and offer new programs.
“The overwhelming success of the Love Your Library campaign speaks directly to the value of library service in our communities,” said Marilyn Jenkins, Executive Director, Allegheny County Library Association. “While our libraries benefit from the on-going support of the Regional Asset District and local governments, the added generosity of individuals is so gratifying. Special thanks to the Buncher Foundation for being a champion of libraries and providing matching funds. This kind of countywide collaborative effort demonstrates why it’s so easy to Love Your Library!”
“The Jack Buncher Foundation long ago recognized the importance of libraries and we believe it is imperative they are supported, not only by the corporations and foundations, but by the people. Libraries are often the linchpin of a neighborhood, providing a wide variety of programs and services for every age group, all offered in a safe, welcoming environment and all at no charge,” stated Bernita Buncher, chair of The Jack Buncher Foundation. “This cannot be stressed enough. A library is free to the people, free to all the people. With their caring staff and family-friendly spaces, libraries should be a weekly stop for parents and their children.”