Seward Library Foundation, Recipient

The Seward Library Foundation planned several events throughout 2023 to mark the 20th anniversary of its building, including a birthday party with cake, trivia and a special guest author. Foundation members used a one by one grant to purchase tote bag giveaways imprinted with “2003 – 2023” as a commemorative gift to those who attended. Tote bag giveaways make perfect gift for library patronsPhoto collage of a person holding a book tote and a table that has cake and flowers on it. “The tote bags were a huge hit, as we ran out,” said Becky Baker, library director. “We weren’t surprised, because we knew some people would use them to bring books to and from the library and others wanted to keep them for historical purposes.” The original library was built in 1913 and was overcrowded, had limited accessibility and parking, and lacked technology infrastructure. The Seward Library Foundation was established in 1990 to find a space and eventually raise funds for a new building. The only public money the group received for the new building was for landscaping. Since the new building opened in 2003, the foundation began raising funds to support programming at the library, including visits by famous authors, digitizing county newspapers and more. Foundation members are proud the library remains popular with community members and out-of-towners. “In addition to offering access to books and information, libraries provide a place for people to gather and a nonjudgmental atmosphere,” Baker said. “In fact, I’ve received many thank-you notes from folks from out of town for allowing them to use our meeting room space.” How libraries are adapting to changing needs In the 20 years since the new library was constructed, Baker said things have changed dramatically. She explained that the key to libraries staying relevant is to remain aware of how society is changing—and adapting as needed. The library still offers book clubs and reading programs, including summer programs for children. It used to have a computer lab with 16 stations, but because most people now have their own devices, today it has just two desktops and three laptops. It also offers items besides books to check out, including tools, yard games and cake pans. While DVDs and CDs were popular a few years ago, today the library offers streaming services.

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