Is it worth one million dollars to have a library named in your honor? Liz Bedard certainly hopes so.
After a full decade of spaghetti dinners, newsletters, and committee meetings, she’s just one miracle away from fulfilling her pledge to Gilmanton, New Hampshire: to build a year-round town library without ever resorting to taxes. Not really knowing what it would entail, Liz and her neighbors took on the quest in 1998 after discovering that their town was one of only two without a year-round public library.
“If you’d told me it would take 10 years, I would have run the other way,” Liz chuckles. “I thought, How hard could it be to build a library?”
Not as hard as you might think. Volunteers flocked to help with construction and fundraisers. Grants and personal donations flooded in, and companies offered their materials and services at massive discounts and in some cases for free.
The finished product — a beautifully restored 1790s post-and-beam barn — would be the pride of any community. With the furniture in place and books coming in from well-wishers and other libraries, it could be ready to open in the spring of 2009. There’s just one thing still missing: an operating budget. In one last effort to avoid taxing the town, the library committee has taken out ads in the Dartmouth and Harvard alumni magazines, searching for a million-dollar endowment in exchange for the library’s naming rights.
It may be unorthodox, but Liz is confident. In a region filled with wealthy bibliophiles, surely someone will take this opportunity to give this truly unique Christmas present.
If you’d like to purchase naming rights or make a smaller donation, contact Liz Bedard at 603-528-1896, or visit: gyrla.org