Library works to raise money to match $75,000 challenge grant

By Lynn R. Parks

The deadline for the Seaford District Library to raise enough money to earn a $75,000 challenge grant is fast approaching. The library has until Sept. 30 to collect $150,000 in donations to qualify for the match from the Longwood Foundation.

All money that the library receives will go toward paying off the $450,000 that remains on its mortgage. That amount is down from $850,000, the amount that the library borrowed to help pay for construction of its new building. Total cost of the building, which was completed in December 2009, was $4 million. Half of that amount was paid by the state after the library board was able to raise the other half.

Peggy Boyd serves on the board of directors of the Seaford District Library. The sooner that the library is able to pay off its mortgage, she said, the sooner it can devote more of its $500,000 annual budget to buying books and other materials and sponsoring programs.

Fundraising for the money to qualify for the grant started in May 2013, Boyd said. So far, the library has collected about $125,000, leaving about $25,000 to go.

Boyd said that the library worked on the Longwood Foundation grant application for a couple of years.

Then the foundation postponed the grant approval for a year when its funding ran short.

"Paying for our new building has been a long haul," Boyd said. "But the end is in sight."

Boyd said that more than 100,000 items are checked out from the library each year. In addition, the library hosts a summer children's reading program that attracts more than 200 participants and a teen reading program that has nearly 40 participants. Throughout the school year, the library sponsors weekly reading sessions for toddlers.

The library is also home to one of four job centers in the state (others are in Dover, Georgetown and Wilmington). The centers provide help, including computer training and resume assistance, to people who are looking for work. The Seaford center averages 20 visits a week; from 2011, when the center opened, through 2013 (the most recent data available), patrons received 71 job offers.

Donations to help the library qualify for the challenge grant can be sent to Seaford District Library, 600 N. Market St. Ext., Seaford DE 19973. For information, call the library, 629-2524.

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