By Roger McKinney
SENECA, Mo. —
The Seneca branch of the Neosho-Newton County Library is safe until the end of the year, but the newly formed Seneca Library Foundation isn’t taking chances, said Josh Dodson.
Dodson, president of the Seneca Chamber of Commerce, has organized the effort to keep the hometown library open. The Seneca Library Foundation held a community meeting on March 24, during which a fundraising committee was formed and the group brainstormed fundraising ideas.
The Seneca Library Foundation has formed as a nonprofit 501 (c)(3), initially under the auspices of the Neosho Area Business and Industrial Foundation Inc.
Individuals or businesses wanting to contribute to the Seneca Library Foundation may make a check out to NABIFI, or the Neosho Area Business and Industrial Foundation Inc. Write “Neosho Library Foundation” in the memo line. Contributions also may be mailed to the Seneca Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 332, Seneca, MO 64865, or dropped off at the Seneca Library or Community Bank and Trust in Seneca, which has established a fund.
The foundation also will participate in a citywide garage sale during the first weekend of May, with sale proceeds going to the foundation. Dodson also said the foundation has begun soliciting donations from businesses and is researching grant opportunities. He said businesses have been waiting for the nonprofit status before they were willing to make donations.
An immediate goal is $10,000 for the library’s summer reading program, computer upgrades and a dedicated early literacy computer.
He said none of the money donated will be used for advertising or administrative costs.
“Every dime we raise goes right to the foundation,” Dodson said.
Dodson also said the foundation wants to create a large enough subsidy for the Seneca branch to remove it from consideration for closure in the future.
The library board had initially slated the Seneca branch for closure in November 2012. It relented after a petition drive collected more than 2,000 signatures in support of the branch. The board voted to allow organizers until June 30 to find a financing solution. The county library board later voted to keep the Seneca branch open at least until the end of the year.
The Seneca Library Foundation is on Facebook.
Newton County voters last year defeated a ballot issue to increase the countywide levy for the library by 15 cents, to 25 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. Approval would have increased the Neosho-Newton County Library budget by about $800,000 annually.