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Written by Kelly Sheehy, Content Specialist, Main Library 

You love the Library. Whether it's checking out books, audiobooks, eBooks, movies, or records, or using the free databases and streaming services, attending events and programming, or utilizing our many services, it's a place you know you're always welcome and supported. But maybe you didn't know that not all of these wonderful free services that the Library provides are fully covered by tax dollars and state funding. That's where the Library Foundation comes in. 

"The Library Foundation supports the work of our Library through financial contributions for things that are outside of what public dollars provide," explains Staci Dennison, the Library's Chief Development Officer and the Thomas W. Jones Executive Director of the Library Foundation. "The biggest thing we do is support the programs of our Library, like Summer Adventure and Homework Helpers. We will also fund new and innovative projects—start-up funding—that allows the Library to demonstrate success or need before public monies are used, like with the Treehouse program."

The Library Foundation is a separate 501(c)(3) organization from the Library. It works with the Library and donors to support what the Library does for our community. So if you love the Library, your support can go a long way. We've rounded up six easy ways you can contribute the Library Foundation and keep all 41 Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County branches thriving for generations to come. 

Befriend a branch

Befriending or “adopting” a branch is a great way to connect with your neighborhood library. Our Library is nationally recognized as one of the 10 busiest and best libraries in the country. You can choose which of the 41 locations you would like to support with a gift that's one-time or recurring. 

Always remembered 

You can pay tribute to relatives, special friends, and loved ones with a gift in their honor. The Honor with Books option enables the Library to buy books that will enrich the lives of everyone who uses the Library. In return, the Library sends an acknowledgment of your gift to the family or individual of your choice and a personalized bookplate will be attached to the purchased materials.  
You can even honor a beloved pet through the Pet Memorial Fund. Your donation is used to purchase materials about pets, pet care, or children’s books for the Library system. Each item is specially marked with a gift plate inscribed with the name of the pet and the donor. Donor and pet names are also recorded on this website, and you can print a memorial page.

Shop til you drop

Who knew that treating yourself can treat the Library too? You can select the Library Foundation as your non-profit of choice through Amazon Smile and Kroger Community Rewards. When you sign up for either donation program, a portion of your spending will be directed to the Library Foundation and turned into books and programming for all ages. Everybody wins!   

Mutually beneficial 

If you invest in the Stock Market, your broker can assist you in making a gift of stock via direct transfer to The Library Foundation. You can also opt into our Charitable Gift Annuity program. Your donation will not only help support the Foundation now, but you will receive tax deductions and quarterly or annual payments during your lifetime. 

If you’re over 70, the Charitable IRA Rollover allows individuals to make direct transfers of up to $100,000 per year from individual retirement accounts to qualified charities without having to count the transfers as income for federal tax purposes. Since no tax is incurred on the withdrawal, gifts do not qualify for an income tax charitable deduction, but are eligible to be counted toward an individual’s minimum required distribution.

Leave a legacy 

The Torch Society was established to recognize those who have invested in The Library Foundation and have realized the important legacy that a planned gift creates. You can join through bequests in your will that designate The Library Foundation as a beneficiary of a gift or part of your estate. This significantly reduces the tax burden on your family. 

You can also include The Library Foundation as a beneficiary of your life insurance or retirement plan as a simple way to leave a legacy. You can transfer a paid policy to The Foundation or purchase a new policy designating The Foundation as owner.

Kick it old school 

Maybe your kid set up a lemonade stand and wants to the money to go to a good cause. Maybe you got a bonus at work and want to pay some of it forward. Or maybe you’re just itching to break open your piggy bank or cash in a coin jar. Whatever the reason, you can always give old fashioned cash or check donations to the Library Foundation through the mail or on the website. There’s no amount too small. Together, we all can help make our Library the best it can be. 

For more information on all of these wonderful ways to support the Library and information about the Library Foundation, visit their website here. 

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