By Molly Messick
Laramie, Wyo. – All of Wyoming's 23 public county libraries recently received checks for $100,000. That's part of a long-term fundraising campaign designed to build endowments at each county library across the state. The checks came through a program created by the Wyoming legislature. Under a measure that took effect in 2008, the state is contributing matching donations to local libraries.
Sue Knesel is the president of the Wyoming Library Association. She says the endowments will go a long way toward helping libraries meet local needs. "Each library will choose uniquely how to use this money," she says. "I'm sure some libraries it will allow them to purchase computer equipment for their public. I'm sure some will use the money to purchase books. There's so many ways it can fill that stopgap between what the county can afford, and the good things that the community needs to have access to."
No library is yet spending any money raised through the funding program, and Knesel says they won't until 2012. At that time, the libraries will only have access to interest on the principal. So far, the legislature has put $12.1 million into the endowment.