ASHLAND – A recent grant from a local grocery chain will help pay for a new piece of equipment at Ashland Public Library.
The Ashland Public Library Foundation received a donation on July 6 of $1,000 from the Direct Your Dollars program at No Frills Supermarket. The program was coordinated by Library Employee Tanya McVay.
No Frills Supermarket receipts donated by customers are collected by various local charities like the library foundation for the store’s Direct Your Dollars program. Once the receipts total a certain amount, the supermarket chain’s owner, Spartan Nash, cuts a check for the charity.
The library staff originally began the Direct Your Dollars campaign to raise money for musical entertainment to accompany the Summer Reading Program. But it took longer than expected, so they found other ways to fund the program, according to Kristi Bundy, president of the Ashland Public Library Foundation.
They continued to collect receipts for summer programming, but a donation from three local boys helped point the library in a different direction, Bundy said. Last year, Peyton Groteluschen, Liam Curtis and Archer Ferguson donated $200 when they chose to give a gift to the library to help purchase the 3D printer rather than receive presents. An anonymous donor also contributed money for the printer, Bundy added, so it was apparent that was the direction the foundation should go.
“So Direct Your Dollars paid the remainder, and when the library opens we have the printer ready to go,” said Bundy. The library has been closed since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The library had a 3D printer on loan in late 2017/early 2018 when it was one of 18 chosen statewide for the Library Innovation Studios: Transforming Rural Communities project. The goal of the program was to stimulate creativity and innovation, facilitate entrepreneurship and spark local economic development. It was funded by the Nebraska Library Commission and included equipment like a 3D laser printer, laser cutter, vinyl cutter, sewing machine, embroidery machine and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) router. These items were available for the public to use for just the cost of materials.
After the loaned equipment was returned in April, library officials chose to raise funds to purchase some of the more popular item. The 3D printer was chosen.
The goal is to create the library’s own “makerspace” by adding more tools and equipment for the community to use. These include another 3D printer, movie editing equipment, sewing machines, paper arts, virtual reality equipment and drones, Bundy said.
The makerspace would benefit all ages, Bundy said. The library could create STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programming for school-age children, she added.
The library’s wish list also includes new programming. The staff hopes to create a “Community Read” program where Ashland reads one book together and then comes together to talk about it. Programs for preschool and kindergarten readiness and bringing in speakers and musicians for the community to enjoy are also on the list, Bundy said.
The foundation’s purpose is to maintain, encourage and receive gifts, grants, endowments and bequests for the betterment of the Ashland Public Library. The foundation is always looking for ways to fulfill the needs of the library that will benefit the Ashland community, Bundy said.
Along with keeping their No Frills receipts, there are several other ways that the public can continue to support the library. When users shop on AmazonSmile, the retailer contributes 0.5% of eligible purchases to the charity of choice.
TAGG is a local app that allows customers to shop at participating businesses, snap a photo of the receipt and choose which cause to support. That business will donate to the cause. An app must be downloaded to use this option.
The foundation will hold a silent auction during Hometown Christmas on Dec. 12 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Glacial Till Tasting Room and Cider House. All proceeds will go directly to the Ashland Public Library.
“We want to thank all the many people who helped us reach this goal,” added Bundy.