The Town of Ballston Community Library is located in Saratoga County. We’re a Special District Library primarily supported by the residents of the Town of Ballston outside of the village of Ballston Spa. The Town of Ballston has about 10,000 residents. In reality we serve the residents of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District. We have great relationships with our schools, local businesses, legislators, and town board members.
I’ve heard other librarians say that they don’t shop in the towns where they work because they don’t want to be recognized. I do shop in the town where I work and I want to be recognized. The library shops local whenever feasible – we use the local copy center and the local hardware store. Our library recently became a pick up location for Field Goods. Once a week they drop off bags of locally grown produce. Not only are we supporting a small business, but we are also pulling in patrons who might not usually come to the library. The library also provides display space for local artists and photographers, providing them with sales opportunities and bringing new people into the library.
Our Friends of the Library group runs two fundraisers each year – library mini-golf and a Spring Fling Raffle. We ask local businesses to sponsor tees or holes and invite them to contribute themed raffle bags. We don’t ask for huge amounts of money – Spring Fling raffle bags only have to be worth $35; mini-golf sponsorship is $100.00. Both fundraisers offer businesses an opportunity to highlight their services and use some creativity and imagination. Raffle bag donations are created around themes and are fun to put together. Mini-golf sponsors get to decorate their holes or tees so golfers putt through an eyeball at the Burnt Hills Optical hole and wing their balls around a tire at Gil’s Garage.
Friends and staff go directly to businesses to talk about library mini-golf. Youth Services staff visit our schools to talk about the summer reading program, but they also participate in after school programs and host the Parents as Reading Partners read aloud event. Trustees attend town board meetings and talk about the library. We go to Library Advocacy Day and talk to our legislators and make sure they know we appreciate them. The library is a member of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Business and Professional Association and I attend their meetings and participate in their events – we march in the annual Flag Day parade and we clean up garbage on Town Clean Up Day.
All year long we celebrate and recognize our supporters. Our library FaceBook page Likes their FaceBook pages. Our website lists them as contributors and provides links to their websites, if they have them. One of our bulletin boards is reserved for notices from local businesses. Trustees encourage librarians to leave the library and provide support to make it possible. Never underestimate the power of a well-publicized thank you!
Karen J DeAngelo, Library Director