A time traveler from all the way back in 2005 wouldn’t even recognize the Gates Public Library of today. First of all, it is no longer in the same location. And second, the former small, dated facility has been replaced with a beautiful, two-story glass, steel and wood structure on Elmgrove Road. Utilization is up – way up – and a new energy permeated the new place.
“All the success we were having was great,” according to Greg Benoit, Library Director. “But it was also bringing the library to a crossroad. The needs of the community had changed and our programs and resources were in high demand. The library needed to evolve quickly to keep up with changing technology and the interests of our patrons. We were concerned that if we couldn’t do that, we’d lose the momentum we’d built. We wanted to find a way to use this energy to become the hub of community activity and life-long learning in Gates.”
State and local funding covered the cost of library operations, but didn't provide the library the additional resources to achieve their ambitious goals. A group of passionate board members, staff and Friends of the Library decided to launch a foundation.
Causewave Community Partners worked with this group to develop a vision: The Gates Public Library Foundation would allow the library to innovate and demonstrate the success of pilot initiatives that support literacy efforts, make emerging technologies accessible to patrons, and create a vibrant place of discovery for the community.
To get the fledgling foundation off the ground, we partnered on a series of strategic planning efforts – from mission and vision development to a constituent survey, SWOT analysis, communications planning and support of their first annual appeal. David Robertson, of Linchpin Strategy, volunteered to partner with us on the communication plan and public relations efforts.
Fundraising efforts kicked off last fall with a public appeal, inviting the community to support a new afterschool program with Neil Armstrong elementary school. The initiative was profiled in the Democrat and Chronicle and the appeal raised enough funds to launch the pilot this May.
“Causewave partnered with our group and really helped us find the direction we all believed we needed,” Benoit said. “They helped us develop a plan that we could implement, and we’ve been building on it ever since. We know where we’re going, and we are making real, visible progress towards getting there.”