With half the money already in hand, the Durham Library Foundation formally opened a $1.5 million fundraising campaign Friday with an advance in automation.
To highlight the event, the Southwest Regional branch unveiled an Automated Delivery System that checks in books, tapes and other material as borrowers return them, then sorts them into bins for return to shelves.
“It goes a long way toward meeting our patrons’ expectations,” said library Director Tammy Baggett.
The system, manufactured by 3M, is “standard in most world-class library systems,” she said, and the first of its kind installed in North Carolina. Each of the Durham system’s four branches, and the Main Library downtown, is due to get one as a goal of the fundraising campaign.
Another goal is new furniture and fresh paint for the downtown branch, along with:
• Maintenance and improvement of services for patrons who cannot get to branch libraries through the Older Adults and Shut-In and Hispanic/Latino programs.
• Acquisitions, cataloging and storage for the North Carolina Collection of historical material.
• Special-event humanities programs.
• Offsets of budget shortages that have reduced money for adding to the collections.
The Foundation is promoting the campaign on its website, bit.ly/jCOzIy, and with displays in each branch.
“Our goal is to get the word out in a way that is fun, relevant and entirely appropriate for a creative community like Durham,” said campaign co-chairwoman Elizabeth Townsend.
The 3M company sold the library its Automated Delivery System at a deep discount, according to a library statement.
The campaign has also received donations from GlaxoSmithKline, the SunTrust Foundation, BP, Family Fare, the C.M. Herndon Foundation and the Friends of the Durham Library.
The Foundation expects the current campaign to run for two more years. This is the Foundation’s second recent effort to raise money. The previous effort closed in 2008, bringing in $2.2 million.