Who We Are

The mission of Durham Library Foundation is to raise funds to provide a margin of excellence for the Durham County Library. The vision of the Library is “inspiring lives, transforming Durham.”

Durham Library Foundation was founded as a 501(c)3 (EIN 56-2189129) to develop and encourage the long-term financial health and growth of the Durham County Library. As a private, nonprofit organization, the Foundation solicits private gifts from many sources, including those not available to a government-funded Library. In addition, the Foundation has developed independent and prudent investment strategies to maximize each gift’s long-term benefit to the library. Gifts are used to fund enhancements and improvements that the library could not otherwise afford through its annual operating budget.

You can be an integral part of the library’s future. For questions about giving opportunities, please contact Executive Director Karen Wells (919-864-8047 or karen@durhamlibraryfoundation.org).

Board of Directors

Ann Craver

Vice President
Norma Martin

Leta Loyd

Alice Alexander

Jennings Brody
G. Rhodes Craver
Leslie Dillon
Lew Myers
Sylvianne Roberge
Arthur Rogers
Elizabeth Townsend

Durham County Library Board of Trustees

Sandra Chambers

Friends of the Durham Library Liaison
Elizabeth Hein

Ex Officio
Tammy Baggett, Library Director

DCL Development Officer
Sara Stephens

There are many ways to give to DLF, and each of them – whether large or small –
• Endorses the public values of free access to information, programming, and library services for all Durham County residents
• Supplements government funding to create a margin of excellence;
• Provides additional resources to meet the increasing demand for library services from a rapidly expanding population;
• Sustains Durham County Library’s national ranking and reputation for innovation and responsiveness to community needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Don’t Durham County citizens already support the library with their taxes and with the recent bond issues?

Durham County funding provides library facilities, library materials, services and staff. Yet, with usage of facilities and resources on the rise, the library is challenged to accomplish its mission while operating within a budget that does not provide funds for expanding programs and services.

The Foundation’s fundraising is about bringing the library to life. It is about filling the facilities with staff who have the resources to creatively address the informational needs of patrons, to plan programming geared to their wide-ranging ages and interests, and to meet their technological needs with up-to-date resources and advice.

Foundation funds bridge the gap between the public support for the library and the real cost of bringing our library system to life.

Make a gift today!

Can’t I just give money directly to the library?

Actually, the library faces many obstacles when it comes to raising funds:

As a department of government, the library cannot accumulate reserve funds.

Most foundations and corporations and many individuals will not make grants or gifts directly to a governmental institution.

Donations made directly to the library are difficult to manage because of the county’s stringent budgetary process.

Even if the library received donations, those funds would become subject to the county budgetary process. Ultimately, the library would still not have the flexibility of funding necessary to respond to emerging needs that were not identified prior to the county budget process, that were not funded through that process, or to special opportunities that arise after the budget year begins.

Doesn’t the Friends of the Durham Library organization already raise money to support the library?

Since 1968, the Friends of the Durham Library (Friends) organization has helped the Durham County Library with volunteer and financial assistance for programs, materials, and equipment beyond the means of limited tax dollars.

Around the time of the Durham County Library Centennial Celebration in 1997, however, ardent supporters of the library became concerned about the long-term financial health and growth of the library. In those early discussions, the Friends decided to maintain the group’s focus: organizing and conducting book sales to fund annual and short-term library needs.

Ultimately, the Friends and the Foundation complement one another perfectly in meeting both the current and long-term financial needs of the library.

What types of donations can the Foundation accept?

The Foundation accepts gifts of cash, securities, real estate and cash-value life insurance policies. The Executive Director Karen Wells (919-864-8047 or karen@durhamlibraryfoundation.org) is available to assist with donations of stocks, or to discuss establishing trusts or other planned giving opportunities.

The Foundation is also pleased to process corporate matching gift requests.