In 2021 a new way to support and celebrate the library was born. With the limitations on gatherings brought on by the pandemic, fundraisers and other events were postponed or cancelled altogether. That included the 10-year run of the annual Love Your Library event held each February. But the Library Advisory Board (LAB), sponsors of the traditional event, wanted to see something in its place. “We can’t let the opportunity in February pass us by,” said April McLaughlin, Chair of the LAB. Enter the Library Reading Tree. A new promotion born out of brainstorming with library staff, board members, Friends, and volunteers. On February 1, the Reading Tree campaign kicked-off at all five Citrus County Library System branch locations. All the donations collected were targeted directly to the expansion of the book collection system-wide.
An initial goal was set to raise 500 books – youth, fiction, non-fiction – it didn’t matter how many of each, just that new books would be added to the collection. “We were able to kickstart the Reading Tree campaign with a $1,000 donation from long-time library supporter Crystal Automotive Group. That donation alone added dozens and dozens of youth books,” said Library Director Eric Head, “In addition to the large donation from Crystal, there were also several individuals and families from our community who gave anywhere from $400 – $1,000 each and we’ve been overwhelmed by the generous response.” The Reading Tree also received substantial donations from Gulf to Lake Marine, the Citrus County Education Foundation, the Friends of the Central Ridge Library, and many others.
By February 22, the original goal of 500 books had already been achieved and everyone was delighted to see such a heartfelt response from the community that focused on books and reading. Excitement was building and anticipation was growing at every branch location as to just how high the number would go. When the campaign concluded, the final total came in at an amazing 665 new books being added to the collection. To really put the campaign’s success into perspective, the total dollar amount collected by the Reading Tree was $12,820! THANK YOU, Citrus County! We love that you love books!
The support of the library system continues with great participation in Friends of the Library book sales and regular donations of your gently used, like-new materials. If you’re interested in showing your support of the Citrus County Library System there are many opportunities available. Becoming a Friend, volunteering at your nearest branch, or simply encouraging your friends and neighbors to get a library card goes a long way. For more information on supporting the libraries and to stay up-to-date on everything that is happening, you can follow the Citrus County Library System on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.