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‘Seed money’ being raised for new Swain library

fr swainlibraryThe community support behind getting a new public library in Swain County has been impressive, but the fundraising efforts have been slow-moving in the last couple of years.

The project took a major step forward in May 2014 when a local couple, Don and Toni Davidson, donated 9 acres right outside of downtown and gave $50,000 to kick-start the fundraising campaign. Almost two years later and the campaign has raised a total of $55,000 for a project that could cost about $6 million total. 

But the New Library Campaign Committee is hoping to pick up momentum once again by hosting a number of fundraisers in 2016. Janis Wright, fundraising committee chairperson, said the clock is ticking to get it done since the Davidson’s land agreement with the county has a specific timeline.

“The county has seven years to get the library built or the land reverts back to the donors,” Wright said. “And we’re two years into that.”

So far, Wright said the county has contributed a typographical map for the library site, which is required before construction can begin, and has used county equipment to keep the site cleared off until the project can begin.  

There are many reasons surrounding the need for a new library — age, space, location, programming, parking and more. Wright said the current Marianna Black Public Library was built in 1970 and can no longer meet the needs of a growing community. 

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“They just don’t have any space — they’re crammed to the gills and can’t do any additional programming,” she said. “One big plus about the new location is it’s on the way to the high school so we foresee more cooperation with the school, and we’re excited about the potential to really live in the 21st century.”

The current library is only 7,267 square feet, but a library consultant hired in 2011 reported that the new Swain library would need up to 21,349 square feet of space by 2015 and up to 25,000 square feet by 2030.

The following fundraisers are planned to put money toward furnishings, fixtures and equipment that will be needed inside the new library. 

Planting the seeds

Just in time for spring, the campaign committee is now selling seed packets of selected vegetables, flowers and herbs to raise seed money for a new library. 

The seeds on sale are sparkler radish, lemon queen sunflower, state fair zinnia and bouquet dill; plus heirloom varieties Nantahala white half-runner beans, early summer crookneck squash and Boston pickling cucumber.

The new library furnishings fund receives 50 percent of the sales receipts for each packet sold directly. Individuals may also pick up a catalog or go online at SowTrueSeed.com to order different seeds using the code: MBL2016 — the new library fund receives 25 percent of those sales. 

Wright said many libraries now have a heirloom seed catalog that allows members to check out seeds to grow each year. It’s a program the Swain Library hopes to get going when the new facility is built.

“We chose Sow True Seed Company of Asheville because of their commitment to open-pollinated (non-hybrid and non-GMO) varieties of vegetable, herb and flower seeds,” said Wright. “Many of the varieties that Sow True Seed offers are heirlooms, passed down through generations due to their outstanding qualities.”

Fundraising feast

The New Library Campaign Committee is hosting a fundraiser dinner at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, at Pasqualino’s Italian Restaurant, 25 Everett Street, in Bryson City. 

The meal includes chicken Parmesan, pasta, dessert and coffee/tea (tips not included, no carry-out). Tickets cost $20 per person and are on sale at the Marianna Black Library, corner of Academy and Rector, and at the Friends of the Library Used Book Store, 35 Everett Street.

“We are excited to kick off our campaign for funds to furnish the new library with a dinner at Pasqualino’s,” Wright said. “We would like to thank owners Pascual and Nancy for their willingness to be involved and we’d love to see a great turnout from the community in support of this initiative.”

Lend a hand

For more information about the new library campaign contact Jeff Delfield, Swain County Librarian at 828.488.3030 ext. 128 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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