The Montrose Regional Library recently hosted the annual book unveiling of the Libraries of Montrose County Foundation. This year had the most books ever funded by the Foundation. The party was excellent with music provided by Emily Johannessen and catering from the Stone House.

This year the generous donors to the Libraries of Montrose County Permanent Book Funds provided more than $19,000 worth of items for libraries in Montrose County. This money allowed us to provide 1,160 items for library users that they would not have had without the willingness to give by the donors. I want to thank them for their support, support that will continue providing much needed resources for many years to come.

In the past year we have added five new permanent book funds. The balance in the endowment fund stands at $543,000. Montrose is a generous community when they believe in the cause, and there is a lot of support for the library. Those of us working with the foundation strive to prove to you the worth of our cause.

When I envisioned creating the foundation over 16 years ago, it was with tight budgets in mind. In good years, the foundation provides more items for our book budget that are like frosting on the cake. In hard times, the foundation helps make the cake. In fact, last year the foundation provided almost 10% of our entire materials budget. Lets face it, if we don’t have stuff to lend out, we aren’t much of a library. The foundation has been a huge help. The foundation is long term thinking and a long-term solution.

You can help long term by supporting the Libraries of Montrose County Foundation. One way to support the Foundation is through a Permanent Book Fund. A Book Fund donation goes into the Libraries of Montrose County Foundation's endowment fund and provides money for books and materials in perpetuity. A donation of $2,500 sets up a book fund. The foundation is set up to spread this donation over five years and can do so through automatic withdrawals, which makes it a payment of less than $42 per month.

Many people have gotten creative with Permanent Book Funds over the years. Groups of individuals have banded together for a common cause to create a fund. One subdivision holds a fundraiser like a neighborhood cookout every year to raise money for their fund. Another group donates money in honor of a man who touched all of their lives.

Another way to help is through the foundation’s new scholarship program. The Board of Directors of the Libraries of Montrose County Foundation believe that reading opens up a lifetime of information, inspiration, and pleasure to those who make reading a lifelong habit. To encourage reading, the foundation is offering a college scholarship based on reading great literature and thinking seriously about its content.

The foundation will award one $5,000 scholarship per year for up to four years of a college career, so it is possible to be awarded a total of $20,000 for your entire collegiate journey. Applicants must read three books from the Literature for Life Scholarship Reading Lists and submit three essays, two of which will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the books read and the last will describe the applicant’s educational goals and needs for financial aid. Applications will be evaluated by readers with an academic background. Awards will be made by the foundation board from a group of finalists recommended by the application readers.

If you would like more information about either of these programs, please do not hesitate to contact me at the library.

Paul Paladino is the director of the Montrose Regional Library.

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