0906 Loachapoka library

The Loachapoka Public Library is applying for state funds in order to become more independent and sustainable.

“I think it’s time to do something because the library has really taken off. We’re excited, but we need to go forward.” Loachapoka Mayor Jim Grout

The Loachapoka Public Library has been drastically changing since its opening back in April.

In addition to the hundreds of books that have been donated to the library in the last several months, the library, located inside the Loachapoka Community Center, is in the process of applying for state funds and nonprofit status. Founder Sara Beasley, a senior at Auburn University, said she and her staff are applying for the library to classify as a 501(c)(3) organization.

“Right now, we’re just working on making sure the library is set for the future with becoming an official state-funded library and starting a nonprofit organization so that people can donate money,” Beasley said.

Currently, the library cannot receive monetary funds, only books. Beasley said the application process will take close to 6 months to complete and that it should be approved sometime in the spring.

“We have to make sure that we have a mission statement and other things,” Beasley said.

Beasley said inspiration behind wanting to start a nonprofit organization was the Auburn Public Library, which allows patrons to make donations to the library because of its status as a nonprofit, in addition to allowing the patrons to get tax benefits through their donations.

However, Beasley said that in order for the library to become state-funded, it would have to be open at least 16 hours per week. It is currently open 8 hours per week, on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

“Hopefully by next fall, we will be open every day, or at least more than 16 hours per week, and then we can become state-funded and receive grants,” Beasley said.

Other qualifications the library must adhere to include employing at least one full-time librarian and a designating a five-member board. The library currently has eight to 10 volunteers on a weekly basis and no full-time employees.

Beasley said the idea to start a library in Loachapoka came to her when she took the ACT exam at Loachapoka High School. She acted on that idea in December 2011.

“I just decided that I couldn’t wait until after college because I realized there was a need right now,” Beasley said.

From the first day onward, the community came out in droves to support it in any way that it could, donating hundreds of books and accessories to the point where it expanded to occupying two rooms.

“Before I knew it, we had too many books and not enough shelves,” Beasley said.

Loachapoka Mayor Jim Grout said the library should apply for state funds due to the burden of daily upkeep it places on the town.

“I think it’s time to do something because the library has really taken off,” Grout said. “We’re excited, but we need to go forward.”

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