BY JOSH CHESLER | APRIL 2, 2014
Desert Foothills Library not to receive $10,000 from Cave Creek
The Cave Creek Town Council voted against fulfilling the $10,000 request to help fund the development of children's programs at Desert Foothills Library.
The library, which functions as an independent 501(c)(3) organization, is currently privately funded by donations and self-generating internal revenue, such as sales from its used book store, funding from its passport office and renting out portions of the premises for weddings and other events.
David Court (l), the Executive Director of the library, believes the town council members may not have understood why the organization felt it deserved the taxpayers' money. "We respect their decision, but it seems they missed the point," said Court. "The library fulfills a civic function, so the town doesn't have to do it. In many places, the town pays for the library."
The operating budget currently sits at $618,000 for the library, which is primarily funded by approximately 1,200 generous donors who have offered anywhere from $40 up to $25,000 this year. Thanks in large part to a recent increase in community-based programs for people of all ages, Desert Foothills Library has seen record amounts of donations for each of the last three years.
"We're making the library a compelling place to be," said Court. "People come in to check out a book or a DVD, but while they're here, they go to an art program or a Spanish class and they can do it all for free."
Court believes most people in the area know where the library is, but they may not realize how many programs it has and how it's changed since it first opened six decades ago. "It's a fantastic facility that really brings the town together, and I think a lot of people are attached to the library," said Court. "It's not just a library, it's a place where people can come to see a concert or check out a program. We don't know what's going to happen with books in the future, so we want to give more than one reason for people to come here."
The $10,000 requested from the town would've gone toward growing the library's program for helping children study and educate themselves outside of school as well as continuing to expand the foreign language programs. Without the town's funding, the library will have to shift money out of other areas in order to continue building their language and youth programs for the community.
Regardless of the funding, Court is certain the library will continue to provide the community with the same personal touches it always has. "What people really like about the library is hearing an actual person's voice on the phone when you call and seeing a happy face at the counter when you walk in. We have a customer satisfaction rating well over 90 percent, because people still value being able to talk to someone friendly."