Somewhere close to a year from now a jewel of our community will reopen: The Chapel Hill Public Library, newly renovated and expanded.  It will offer more than 62,000 feet of Wi-Fi space available for meetings and programs, high-tech instruction, reading advancement, teen initiatives and, of course, a larger collection of print and non-print materials for all.  

(Click here for construction photos)

The Chapel Hill Public Library Foundation is embarking on an ambitious effort to support the library’s growth and renewal with a campaign to raise money to augment the collections and programs as well as contribute to the furnishings of the renovated building.  

What is the Library Foundation?  The Library Foundation provides private support to enhance programs and services, with a special emphasis upon enriching collections. This private support supplements what the town spends to run the library.  

I’m fairly sure that when I write of the library, many of you reading this will know all about it.  Why?  Because Chapel Hill’s library is the most used public library of its size in North Carolina, setting a record each year for the largest circulation per capita state-wide.  

As public budgets tighten, more people turn to the library for more kinds of materials, programs and services.  They include the expected books (print, audio, and electronic), access to computers and e-readers, CD’s and DVD’s, and many databases. 

So while it’s a healthy list of what each patron can get from the library; let’s take a look at what the community as a whole gets:  an institution that goes a long way to creating well-informed citizens. Sociologists tell us that creates better educated and more prosperous families, and a skilled workforce prepared to compete in a knowledge-based economy.

It is then obvious why the foundation would call its campaign “Ensuring Excellence.”  Here are the ways in which your gift can ensure excellence:

  • Collections Fund:  This fund supports the acquisition and accessibility of print and non-print materials for our adults, teens, and children. 
  • Program Fund: Supporting educational, civic, cultural, and recreational programs for all though there’s a special emphasis on programs for children and teens. In today’s world students have many choices on how to allocate and spend their time. Research proves that those who choose to read have better test scores and are more likely to succeed in the workforce.  Initiatives supported by this fund will also go toward encouraging critical thinking among students who now use the internet as their primary resource. 
  • Digital Initiative Fund: Supporting the exploration, implementation, and expansion of emerging and existing technologies.
  • Furnishings Fund: Furnishings and art for the new Library with an emphasis on the teen and children’s spaces.                                                     
  • Library General Support Fund:  Supporting all aspects of library service.  
  • Foundation General Support Fund: Supporting the annual operating costs of the Foundation. 

Your donation will be recognized and all gifts to the Chapel Hill Public Library Foundation are charitable donations and are tax-deductible under the full extent of the law.  Click here to find out how to give.  

I’d love to hear from you about how you use the library.  Leave a comment below or write to me at  By the way, full disclosure: I’m on the foundation’s board.  But I’m participating because I absolutely believe that investing in minds is the best investment any of us can make.  That’s some Savvy Spending!