Foundation drops surprise presents to local libraries

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Eight Chatham-Kent library branches had unexpected guests July 2, and unexpected presents as a result.

Sarah Hart, manager of public services for the C-K Public Library, said representatives from the Levenger Foundation surprised everyone by visiting eight of 11 branches, leaving $1,000 donations at each branch.

“We didn’t even realize what was going on,” said an excited Hart. “They visited each location, toured themselves around, talked to folks, left an envelope, and left.”

Hart explained it wasn’t until the branches started e-mailing the office that they realized what had happened, and to what extent.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t think anyone here has,” she said. “We apply for grants and do lots of applications and such. But without an application, and to have someone come in and do something like that is very rare. That’s one of those good-news stories that needs to be shared.”

According to the Levenger website: “We believe that reading can provide the basis for ideas, thought, and purposeful living. We are committed to contributing to organizations and programs that promote reading and literacy. Sometimes this takes the form of direct financial gifts from the Levenger Foundation. But often our partnering takes the shape of new products produced in co-operation with institutions that receive a royalty on their sales.”

Hart said the foundation representatives asked that the funds be spent in the support of children’s services by the libraries in Chatham-Kent.

“We’ll certainly look to follow their request. We may augment the summer reading program,” she said. “Or we’ll look at some way to help all the branches of the Chatham-Kent library this summer.”

She has no idea how C-K libraries got on Levenger’s radar, but isn’t complaining.

Neither is anyone else, for that matter.

“It made my day, my week and my month,” Tania Sharpe, chief librarian and CEO, said in a press release.

“These people have visited eight branches today! Out of the blue! Because they love libraries! Woo hoo,” said Tilbury’s Jone Dagleish in a release.

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