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Member Spotlight: West Palm Beach Library Foundation

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Monday, December 16, 2019

The Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach provides free quality programs, services and resources that serve more than 750,000 people each year.

 

It’s a huge operation that’s supported by our member West Palm Beach Library Foundation, which raises funds for the library.

 

As our December member spotlight, Nonprofits First asked the Foundation’s Executive Director Tami R. Lesser to explain why the library is known as a center of learning and inspiration that enriches the entire community.

 

Explain why the foundation exists.

 

Tami R. Lesser: The West Palm Beach Library Foundation (WPBLF) was created to raise funds for the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach to provide free quality programs, services and resources that serve more than 750,000 people each year and enrich and strengthen our diverse community.

 

Private gifts from individuals, foundations, and the corporate arena create public libraries that are world-class institutions.

 

We are fortunate to have the Mandel Public Library, a community building institution offering unlimited possibility. The Mandel Public Library is a vibrant place where diverse members of the community can gather, grow, learn, and live more productive lives.

 

 What impact do the library programs have in the community?

 

Tami R. Lesser: The West Palm Beach Public Library’s KidSpace programs, workshops, Storytimes, special events and services have a lasting impact for more than 38,000 children and teens who participate and on their families.  The Let’s Read program involves reading to children in preschool through second grade. Teachers have seen a difference in their students reading comprehension skills and test scores. The Homework Center for children and teens has certified teachers, librarians and volunteers to help students with assignments or a project.  The summer academy provides free programs, services and a healthy lunch every day all summer to prevent summer slide. The library offers a myriad of health and art classes to promote healthy choices, exercise, art and creativity that attract hundreds of people every day. 

 

Some of the other services the library provides are:

 

  • Lending books, eBooks, movies, music cd’s, downloadable music, movies and audiobooks, magazines, audiobooks on cd, and other information formats.
  • Professional assistance with research, computer use, job hunting, use of e-government services, and utilizing library collections and the internet to get valid.
  • Aiding young adults 16 – 25 years old that are struggling with completing high school, securing employment or gaining the skills to become successful citizens.
  • Computers for patrons, many of whom have no other access to the internet, that helps bridge the "digital divide" and allow them to apply for jobs, utilize government services, and learn.
  • A wide variety of library programs:  Career-Readiness Classes, Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Latin Cardio, Computer Classes, Book Clubs, Art Classes, Job Hunting Classes and many more. 
  • Homework Help, Dog Tales, Coding Classes, Storytime’s, Ballet, Karate, Cooking and Summer Reading programs and classes.
  • Access to a vast array of online commercial databases and magazine articles (not available on the internet to non-library card holders), as well as specialized library informational websites.

 

 

How can the community support your work?

 

Tami R. Lesser: Support of the West Palm Beach Library Foundation is an investment in the entire community.

 

Your gift benefits children, teens, adults, and seniors from all walks of life, whose lives are enriched every day at the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach. Our public library is a community builder and a safe space for children, teens and adults to learn, grow, explore and be inspired. Individuals and businesses can contribute gifts of any size to support the free programs and services and can donate event sponsorships for our main event “Food for Thought 2020.”

 

We also have naming opportunities that range from a $2,000 name plate to a $2.5 million gift to name the Children’s Library. It’s a meaningful way to offer recognition or to honor or memorialize a loved one. The Library Foundation relies on the generosity of our community members, foundations and businesses to support our beloved library and ensure that it will continue to be a center of learning and inspiration that enriches the entire community.

 

Why is the WPBLF a member of Nonprofits First?

 

Tami R. Lesser: WPBLF became a member of Nonprofits first to connect and engage with our colleagues and other organizations in the nonprofit community. We hope to learn and benefit from the many educational opportunities provided by Nonprofits First. We also want to find additional opportunities for the Mandel Public Library to partner with other nonprofits to bring more of the wonderful library programs out into the community and expand access to the library for the benefit of the community.

 

 Learn more about the West Palm Beach Library Foundation here.

 

If you know a great story about a local nonprofit, please share it with Charlotte Gill, Nonprofits First’s director of development and business strategies. Her email is: cgill@nonprofitsfirst.org

Image credit: Facebook page of West Palm Beach Library Foundation

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Tags:  Charities  Cultivate  Membership  Network  Nonprofit  Nonprofit Philanthropy  Palm Beach County 

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