Donors help North Wales Library achieve a $100,000 Challenge Grant


NORTH WALES, PA – December 29, 2008.  Donors who live in North Wales Borough, Upper Gwynedd Township and the other municipalities served by the North Wales Library have met a $100,000 challenge, essentially doubling their contributions to the Library’s $1.9 million Imagine the Possibilities Capital Campaign.


Total project costs, which include purchasing and renovating the Library’s new facility at 322 S. Pennsylvania Ave., North Wales, are estimated to be approximately $1.9 million. Members of the Library’s Capital Campaign Committee have been pursuing grants, donations and in-kind contributions from the community and local and regional businesses in an effort to  meet acquisition and renovation costs.


An anonymous donor issued the challenge in the spring, offering to match residents’ contributions to the library when the donations totaled $100,000.


To date, factoring in anonymous donations, the residents’ contributions and the challenge grant and a $350,000 revitalization grant from Montgomery County, the North Wales Library has raised about $975,000.


The North Wales Library is midway through its Imagine the Possibilities campaign to raise $1.9 million for the acquisition and renovation of the new library and Community Center on Pennsylvania Avenue in North Wales. The North Wales Library has been providing adult and children’s services in roughly 3,000 square feet at North Wales Elementary School since 1927. The new space offers more than 10,000 square feet. Because membership in the library is free to all Pennsylvania residents, membership among residents in Upper Gwynedd, Montgomery Township and Towamencin Township has been growing.

The library bid out the renovation project in October, and construction is under way. For information on how to contribute to the campaign, visit the Library’s Web site at, or call 215-699-5410.

Ground breaking begins

Fundraiser for North Wales Library set for Nov. 15

Sunday, November 9, 2008 6:23 AM EST

By Tony Di Domizio

Staff Writer
As the North Wales Library begins a new chapter in its history, it looks to the community to make it a novel success.
The library will be moving to a new 10,000-square-foot location on Pennsylvania Avenue from its current 3,000-square-foot location at North Wales Elementary School. The library has been there since 1927, but the school district did not renew the lease.
The plan is for the new location to be a library and a community center, complete with a coffeehouse area and state-of-the-art amenities. The facility will tout geothermal heating. The three-phase project will begin Nov. 13 with interior demolition and renovation of the warehouse on Pennsylvania Avenue, and continue through the beginning of 2009 with a completion date of May 2009.
The library will not close while renovations are done. It will simply move its daily operations into the new building while remaining open to the public.
A capital campaign committee is dedicated to raising $1.9 million for the acquisition and renovation of the library through the "Imagine the Possibilities" campaign.
"We have raised $950,000 already," said Ana Maria Hartman, chair of the events committee for the capital campaign. "We're almost halfway there."
Part of the campaign includes fundraising, and one such event will occur Saturday, Nov. 15, in Kulpsville at The Inn of Towamencin at 11:30 a.m.
The North Wales Library will host "Book Club and Friends," a luncheon featuring a trio of authors.
Tickets are $35 and reservations are required by Nov. 11.
About 20 people are signed up for the event so far.
The featured authors will be Santi Buscemi, professor of English and chair of the Department of English at Middlesex County College in Edison, N.J., and author of "A Reader for Developing Writers" and "An ESL Workbook;" poet, essay writer and short story scribe Harry Groome, author of "Wing Walking"; and local North Wales resident and children's book writer Janet Lord, author of "Here Comes Grandma" and "Albert the Fix-It Man."

"We are moving to a new location and we really need the financial support of the community for the expanded library and community center to become a reality," said Hartman. "We are doing several fundraisers, and this is our largest one."
Hartman said the authors are excited to come out and help in the library's goal.

"Janet Lord is a supporter of the library, and we thought she was a nice choice. Harry Groome is really very excited about coming and helping the library. He knows it's a big endeavor and is excited about helping us out," she said. "Santi Buscemi's brother is a friend of mine. When I told him about the library and what was going on, he was excited and wanted to help."

Hartman said the move is the biggest thing to happen in North Wales.
"We hope people in North Wales and the surrounding areas support our endeavor and come to the event," she said. "The library is so important to the whole community. You are not helping a whole group of people; you are helping the entire community. This is a big asset for everyone."

Membership to North Wales Library is free to all Pennsylvania residents due to the library joining ACCESS PA. The library has seen its membership numbers grow with residents from Upper Gwynedd, Montgomery and Towamencin townships joining the library.

A second fundraiser is set for Nov. 23 at Montgomery Theater in Souderton. Proceeds from ticket sales to the production of "Last Night of Ballyhoo" for the 3 p.m. show will go to the campaign.
Hartman knows the capital campaign will meet its goal. More importantly, the new library and community center will be a success.
"It's exciting," she said. "You can't have doubts. You have to have faith and keep going."

Call (215) 699-5410 or email to obtain tickets for the event.

Visit for more information


Board OKs bidding on library project
By DAVID HARE, Staff Writer
NORTH WALES Borough council Tuesday approved Phase II
of the North Wales Library renovation go out on bid.
Renovation of the new library building at 322 S.
Pennsylvania Avenue is being handled in three phases.
Borough officials anticipate the second phase to start
in Winter 2009, with a completion date at the end of
May that same year.
Work on this phase includes plumbing, concrete floor
leveling, and roof insulation, according to borough
Council’s vote comes about a week after the North
Penn School Board approved an agreement with the
North Wales Library regarding the occupancy of the
North Wales Elementary School.
Since 1927, the public library has occupied a portion
of the ground floor at North Wales Elementary School
located in the North Penn School District
For a while now district officials have expressed the
need for the library’s current 3,000 square foot space
- —
as renovations to the elementary school are long overdue.
According to the resolution passed at the Sept. 18 school
board meeting, the library agrees to completely vacate the
school by no later than May 31. 2010.
D. Michael Frist, the school district’s director of business
administration, said renovations at the elementary school
are scheduled to begin in Spring 2009. He estimated the cost
 at about $13.4 million.
The new library is scheduled to open by Summer 2010.
It will occupy more than 10,000 square feet, according to
 borough officials.


,A county revitalization grant has given the North Wales Library a big fundraising boost and library members are now almost halfway to the total they'll need to relocate to their future home.
Ana Hartman did the honors of updating the thermometer-shaped fundraising meter recently, while her husband Harry and library executive director Jayne Blackledge looked on.
"Our numbers are looking pretty good. We started pretty seriously with fundraising at the beginning of the year, and right now we're sitting at $928,000," said Harry Hartman, treasurer for the North Wales Library.
And after word of the revitalization grant came down and Ana (a member of the library's Capital Campaign Committee) filled in a little more of that thermometer, they're looking for even more help from the community, to meet their total fundraising goal of $1.9 million.
"Right now we're in the final stages of planning the new building," Blackledge said.
"It'll have a fireplace with plenty of seating, because we literally have only one chair where we are now, and a lobby area with permanent display cases of local artwork, so it'll be a little museum-y," she said.
The current facility occupies roughly 3,000 square feet and has been housed within North Wales Elementary School since 1927.
The new library building on
Pennsylvania Avenue, which Blackledge hopes they will occupy by the summer of 2010, will offer more than 10,000 square feet, allowing the library to offer much more to patrons.
Plans for the new library were revealed earlier this year, and include plenty of seating and reading spaces, computer tables with Internet access, and two public meeting rooms with a small adjoining kitchen.
"We've really been trying to take into account what our patrons would like to see. We'll have two skylights too, it'll be a bright, cheerful place," she said.
To cover the costs of all of that, however, the Capital Campaign Committee sent out a letter last month to all residents in the 19454 ZIP Code, including North Wales Borough and Upper Gwynedd and Montgomery townships, asking for tax-deductible donations.
Members of the committee have also been pursuing in-kind contributions, and grants such as the $350,000 revitalization grant recently awarded to the library by the Montgomery County commissioners.
"We had $400,000 come in from an anonymous donor, which covered half of the purchase price of the new building, and we just got the $350,000 grant from the county commissioners," Harry Hartman said.
"We've had about $65,000 to $70,000 come in so far in donations, along with about $70,000 in a match from the anonymous donor, who's willing to match up to $100,000 in donations if we can get that much," he said.
The $350,000 grant covers almost 20 percent of the $1.9 million the library estimates it needs to complete relocation and renovation to their new property, and the anonymous donor's contributions could reach $500,000, more than 25 percent of the total.
Kirk Field, the library board's president, also expressed his thanks for the county Revitalization Board's support.
"That support not only provides needed dollars for the project, but also lends broad endorsement for our plans to make this new library facility a great community center and asset to serve residents of the borough, and its surrounding townships," Field said. "These funds will help convert an outdated industrial building into an attractive intellectual center."
And these days, free public libraries like North Wales' are more important than ever for the community, Blackledge said.
"Especially when the economy turns down, people don't purchase books, they go to libraries instead. If you're looking for a free program or a place to take your kids, we have plenty, and if you need online access, or even to apply for a job online, you'll be able to do that at our new library too," she said.