Help raise funds for new library building

August 2, 2018


Menan-Annis-Grant Library needs a new building. The current building is a double wide trailer located on School District 251 property behind the elementary school in Menan. The lease has 9 years to run and I have heard word of mouth that the School District understandably has no real interest in renewing the lease. It is a logistical problem to run a busy school and a public library out of the same parking lot. Too many random factors and potential security problems. So, in 9 years, we’re going to need a new site for our library. And the new building to go on that site. In order to make that work, MAG Library needs 1 Million Dollars. Give or take.

Thursday afternoon, July 19, the Library Trustees Hosted an open house and fundraising dinner in order to gauge the community’s interest in building a new library. Attendees were given the opportunity to look through a number of early conceptual designs and pick their favorites. There was also a buffet meal donated entirely by the local Teton House Restaurant.

300-350 people attended. The library board had hoped to be able to sell 250 tickets at $8 each. They actually sold 310 of their 250 tickets. (I know, the math looks a little weird. But it apparently works.) There was also an opportunity to donate toward the new library. If you do the bare bones math, 250 tickets at $8 each would be $2,000. Due to the attendee’s interest in seeing a new library come to pass, the library trustees raised in excess of $16,000. I think this is a good indicator of people’s interest in seeing a new library built.

There are a few out there that think that $1,000,000 is a rather grandiose goal for a city of the size of Menan. But this isn’t just the Menan Library we’re talking about. We’re talking about the Menan-Annis-Grant Library. MAG Library. A small town of 750 people cannot build a Million-dollar Library. But the area that this Library will serve is much greater than one small town. It will serve the people in the Menan, Annis, Grant Library District.

$1000000 is a lot of money. It is 1000 thousand-dollar bills.

But what do you get for $1000000? In this case you get a 7000 square foot state-of-the-art energy efficient building that will last for a hundred years or more. A building that will house a children’s area, computer rooms, common areas, book storage, exhibit areas. A building that will give opportunities for continuing education, public internet access, job creation, activities. A building that will give the children and adults in Menan and surrounding areas a place to go and things to do on a year-round.

What is my interest in a new library? I am not a library trustee, or in any way affiliated with the library. However, I do I have ulterior motives.

I have a theory. (Totally and completely unsubstantiated by science, in any way, shape, or form.) I believe that a town needs a heart. I am looking for a heart for Menan. A place that serves as a focus for Menan. A place that when you use the word Menan, a single place pops into mind. That would be the heart.

The Valley-Wide corporation recently built a farm store and convenience store on the west end of Menan. And it is a nice store. But it is not the heart of Menan. The Central Fire District is completing a new state-of-the-art fire station on Main Street. And as nice as the fire station is, it is not the heart of Menan. I think a library could be the heart of Menan. A single gathering place where everyone can feel welcome and at home. I believe that the heart of Menan is worth a million dollars.

A valid question is, “What about my taxes.” Always a valid question. “How much will constructing a million-dollar building increase my taxes.” The answer is zero. As I understand it, tax money does not build libraries. Communities build libraries. If a community wants a library, it needs to go out and find a library. Either through grants or donations. Or through fundraising community activities such as a Heritage Festival that is being planned for this fall.

The Library trustees have the land, a beautiful lot that I think would be a perfect place for a library. They have a little bit of money. They will need a lot more money. They will need community support. But if you can raise $16,000 by having a fundraising dinner for a few hundred people, what else is possible? The only way to discover that is to go find out.

Mayor Tad Haight


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