PLATTSBURGH - The philosophy of those who operate the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System has long been if you can't bring people to the library, bring the library to the people. However, the nonprofit organization's bookmobile, which serves the tri-county region, could one day run out of gas.
CEFLS director Ewa Jankowska said the bookmobile travels thousands of miles each year, bringing books to more than 60 locations throughout Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties either not served by a local library or where difficult for residents to access one. Providing such a lofty service with limited government funding isn't an easy task, said Jankowska.
"We're starting to get more and more in financial trouble because gas is getting more and more expensive," she said. "So, we've been trying to find some kind of imaginative way to help offset those costs."
The library system thinks it's found one way, said Jankowska. It's begun the "Fueling Literacy" program, an idea originated by CEFLS board of trustees member Dr. Nancy J. Church. The program seeks sponsors of the bookmobile, primarily from the fuel service and automotive businesses throughout the North Country, to help with the approximately $120,000 annual cost of keeping the bookmobile in operation, said Jankowska.
"We've been talking about doing this for a while," she said. "And, at the end of last year, we started sending information to invite people to join in the program."
The program requests sponsorships at Diamond, Platinum, Gold, and Silver levels, with sponsors committing to donating 100, 75, 50 or 25 gallons of diesel fuel or gasoline, respectively, each month for one year. Sponsors may also contribute automotive repair or maintenance services at an equivalent value of each sponsorship level or make a financial contribution.
So far, the program is off to a slow start, said Jankowska, who attributes that partly to timing.