From: The Kodiak Public Library Association

Kodiak, stand up and take a bow.

The Kodiak Public Library Association wrapped up the Living, Learning & Growing capital campaign for the new library last week, and we’ve tallied up the final contributions. In total, people in Kodiak and a few friends from elsewhere in the state and country contributed over $768,000 to help build the new library. (For comparison, total statewide giving by all Alaskans for the Pick.Click.Give campaign in 2013 was $2,445,450.) More than 325 families, individuals and businesses made gifts. In addition, more than 160 people contributed their volunteer energy to the project over the last five years, ranging from the citizen committee that advised the city of Kodiak on prudent and beautiful design, to the planning a events committee members who made each and every campaign and public outreach event a fabulous party, to students who interviewed their families and elders about their dreams for a new library.

In addition to the direct giving and the incredible volunteerism, broad and resounding community support enabled the project to draw $6.9 million in state funding, and nearly $700,000 in support from local and statewide charitable foundations. The new Kodiak Public Library effort is known around Alaska for rewriting the expectations for how citizens and government can work together to co-create a great project.

Back here at home, the library project did two more important things.

First, it gave people a refreshed sense of personal duty in achieving important community dreams. Rather than look to others to address our needs, we stood up and took the responsibility on ourselves. Second, it gave hundreds of people the chance to stretch their own sense of meaningful charitable giving. Our Capital Campaign Cabinet asked people to be bold and reach deep, and explored the value and power of giving with our donors. Our donors now know how it feels to give a transformational legacy gift. We suspect Kodiak’s culture of giving will be shifted for years to come.

When a group of residents got together in 2007 to begin imagining this library project, we quickly set the aspiration to go deep into the community to include as many voices as possible in participatory visioning and design. Our goal was that every question and challenge that could face us would be anticipated before the first ask was made of city government, or the first funding came through the door. This commitment is reflected in number of people who have participated in the many aspects of this process.

Finally, it is our pleasure to share that our success with the capital campaign will enable us to acquire additional resources for the library and its patrons, beyond that to which we conservatively committed during construction. As we move into the library and live in it in the coming months, we will meet the additional needs for equipment, furnishings, and enhancements identified by staff and patrons.

To everyone who participated in this process, we thank you, and applaud you. Your support was our foundation. Together, we have done something amazing, and we will all live in the new space we have created for decades to come.

The Kodiak Public Library Association board of directors includes Erin Harrington, Patty Holmes, Astrid Rose, Kaia Henrickson, Sarah Short, Natasha Pristas and Laurene Madsen. Kelly Longrich was the KPLA capital campaign coordinator.

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