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Library giving circle seeks to nourish literacy one ‘meal’ at a time

By Staff | Oct 5, 2018

Jack Young, of Shepherdstown, signs up to join the giving circle as library Director Hali Taylor, left, and giving circle Chair Linda Spatig, right, watch. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Although many people want to make a difference in the world around them, the cost of impacting the world can be too high a price for many peoples’ checkbooks. But when people band together to make monthly donations to the same organization, their ability to help their communities can grow exponentially.

In 2017, the Shepherdstown Public Library’s giving circle, Nourishing Literacy, was established by four local residents. Since being publicly announced during the 2017 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence celebration at Shepherd University, the giving circle has grown to over 30 members, according to Nourishing Literacy Chair Linda Spatig.

“This is all in support of literacy. The libraries are a central part of encouraging literacy and connecting the community,” said Spatig, a retired research professor at Marshall University. “It’s all being donated to the library’s Building for the Future capital campaign right now. Libraries are terribly underfunded everywhere–that’s why they need our support.”

Spatig came up with the giving circle idea from reading about a similar group in Washington, D.C., and, now that the group is one-year-old, she can talk with confidence about the benefits of being part of the giving circle.

“You can feel you’re part of something bigger when you fundraise collectively. For those who can’t afford a large contribution, they can handle $5 or $10 a month, it all adds up,” Spatig said, mentioning members’ monthly contribution are self-determined, and range anywhere from $5 to $100. The tax-deductible contributions can be made through automatic credit card withdrawals.

“Anybody can walk into the library to sign up to join the giving circle, or they can contact me,” Spatig said. “So far this year, we have raised over $10,600 for the library.”

Shepherdstown Public Library Director Hali Taylor listened as Spatig gave an update on the giving circle’s progress during “A Celebration of Appalachian Storytellers” on Sept. 25, and then, after the program was over, joined Spatig at the reception in the Scarborough Library’s Reading Room, where they spent time talking to community members about the collective fund.

“I’m so delighted to see the giving circle growing, and I hope more community members will join us, to enhance the literacy of our local community,” Taylor said.

Each year, Nourishing Literacy hosts one or two events with music and literacy programs featuring local or regional writers. The giving circle does not feature ticketed fundraising events or solicit major donations from individuals. For more information, contact Spatig at Spatig@marshall.edu or 304-617-5318.