An anonymous local family has gifted the River Forest Public Library Foundation more than $150,000 over the next five years, the largest gift in the foundation’s history.
“We are very grateful for this family’s donation. Their commitment to the library is so inspiring,” Sue Quinn, library director, said in a statement.
The foundation plans to use the family’s initial gift of $30,000 to update the library’s Children’s Room by purchasing ADA-compliant shelving to make books and materials more accessible to all patrons, as a way to “honor the experiences of the family,” Quinn said in a statement.
Although the footprint of the Children’s Room comprises just 15 percent of overall library space, materials from the room account for 40 percent of items circulated annually. Use of the children’s picture book collection jumped 30 percent in 2014 after new shelving was installed for that collection, putting books within reach of the room’s youngest patrons, in an effort to encourage self-guided discovery.
“The Children’s Room is small but mighty,” Amy Grossman, manager of Children’s Services, said in a statement. “New shelving and other improvements will make our collections shine and help our young patrons reach for the stars in a space that is more welcoming.”
Officials also plan to replace the rest of the 1955-era shelving in the Children’s Room, repaint the space and install new carpet tiles. The complete update is estimated to cost $65,000, and the foundation has launched a campaign to raise an additional $35,000 from the community.
Those interested in making a tax-deductible donation to the nonprofit should visit rfplfoundation.org. Launched in 2015, the foundation supports the library through advocacy and fundraising, by sponsoring special programs for patrons and staff.