Public Library Fundraising Trends Need to Include Digital Books

Andrew Carnegie built 1700 public libraries between 1881-1919.

Public libraries have been fixtures in our communities for many generations by serving people of all ages and interests. Libraries provide numerous types of educational and entertaining programs and activities. Library outreach services continue to meet the needs of ever changing demographics. Library volunteer programs provide support and help keep many retired adults active.

Public libraries have had to make many changes. By adding banks of computers, digital access to collections, checkout machines and with more and more digital books added to library collections, most public libraries in America have transitioned well to changes.

Public libraries have transitioned well to technology & book formats, but fundraising also needs transitioning.

Public libraries are supported by companies (like i.e. Overdrive) to lend digital books.  Overdrive provides a great digital book lending service, but libraries must pay a license fee. There are other digital book lending services, but when a Library uses a system it’s difficult and costly to change. Libraries are exploring other lending options, but no matter what direction is taken, the cost of operation will continue to rise.

The quality-of-life within America’s communities wouldn’t be near the same without public libraries, but there is uncertainty for public libraries moving forward. Not only is the business side of operations for public libraries difficult to manage; the fundraising side of public libraries needs immediate attention and some new directions. 

Public Library Fundraising Trends Need to Include Digital Books

Of all the challenges that public libraries are facing, fundraising may very well be the biggest. Annual book sales have been a substantial fundraiser for libraries, but libraries have fewer print books to sell, and patrons are purchasing fewer print books. Public libraries are acquiring more and more digital collections, but libraries can’t sell used digital books.

Many libraries use AmazonSmile’s fundraising program for non-profit organizations, but unbeknownst too many, AmazonSmile does not provide revenue commissions for digital book downloads. Many library patrons have undoubtedly used their library’s AmazonSmile banner when books in all formats weren’t available to borrow. Libraries have received nothing for digital book purchases and patrons have donated nothing to libraries for digital book purchases. 

 Digital Book Smiles…..








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