Bellingham library expects to launch a foundation next year to diversify funding

Bellingham Public Library could launch its own foundation by mid-2011 in keeping with what other libraries are doing, said Pam Kiesner, its director.

The idea of a foundation isn’t surprising to Bellingham Public Library officials. Its board of trustees decided a few months ago to form a foundation, but was slower getting to it than expected because of cutbacks in the library’s budget as a result of the city’s ongoing shortfalls.

“We’ve had so many other things on our plate with the budget,” Kiesner said. “We’ve all been stretched to the max with lots of staff reductions. It takes some coordinating that we haven’t had time for.”

“Libraries these days are finding that diversifying their funding source is a good thing,” she said. “There are lots of libraries out there that have their own foundation.”

Added Kiesner, “I think it’s always been the library board’s intent that a foundation would be formed in order to assist with the development of a new library, and not necessarily to support the operating budget of the library. The operating budget for the library is the city’s responsibility.”