Group exercises new option in raising support for Southwest Public Libraries

ALAN FROMAN
afroman@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

With the Grove City and Westland libraries closed to the public since March due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Friends of the Southwest Public Libraries has faced major hurdles in its fundraising efforts.

The ongoing book sales that typically serve as the main revenue source for the organization have been halted.

"Normally, we have 'hands-on' fundraising efforts, like participating in the Mistletoe Market (during Grove City's Christmas Celebration in the Town Center) or special dinners or lunches," Friends president Deborah Fultz said. "But it's the book sales where we sell used books for $1 or 25 cents that provide a good amount of our revenue – the biggest amount."

"We kicked around some alternative fundraising ideas, then we thought, why not try a 5K run – a virtual one," said Suzanne Norris, fundraising committee chairwoman.

The Friends will hold the 2020 Pathway to Literacy Virtual 5K run from Oct. 12 to 24.

During that time period, participants will be able to complete the 5K (3.1 miles) on their own schedule and in the way that best fits their interests and activity level, Fultz said.

"If you want to run, walk or bike it, that is up to you," she said. "You can even accumulate some distance by mowing the lawn.

"For some of our older library supporters, the virtual run will allow them to participate at their own pace," Fultz said. "They may not want to run 5 kilometers, but they enjoy taking a walk every night around their neighborhood."

It will all add up, she said.

Participants will receive a Pathway to Literacy 5K sticker, Fultz said.

They can wear the sticker on their clothing for the photos with their times they will be able to submit and post at #PathwayToLiteracy.

Participants may register using the form at tinyurl.com/SWPL5K or pick up a mail-in registration form during book pickup hours at the Grove City Library, 3959 Broadway, or the Westland Area Library, 4740 W. Broad St., Columbus.

Participants who want an event T-shirt must register by Monday, Aug. 31, and pay a $40 entry fee.

The fee to participate without a T-shirt is $30, due Sept. 30.

Although the branch libraries have been closed for five months, the Friends' mission to support the system has been ongoing, Norris said.

The Friends provides funding for the system's Summer Reading Challenge and is covering the cost of the prizes and raffle items offered for this year's virtual challenge, she said.

The group also sponsors a writing contest each year, Norris said.

"Reading or writing, it all ties in to literacy and the mission of the library and the Friends," she said.

"It's all about a 'pathway to literacy.' "

The Friends will look to make a 5K run an annual event, Fultz said.

afroman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekAfroman