Locals Open Wallets for Berkeley Public Library By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday December 17, 2004

Boosters of the Berkeley Public Library have raised $100,000 to help the cash strapped institution buy more books. 

The Berkeley Public Library Foundation and the Friends of the Berkeley Public Library each raised $50,000 as part of an ongoing fundraising drive to plug the $300,000 shortfall in the library’s book-buying budget. 

“This makes up a third of our book-buying deficit. That’s really huge fur us,” said Library Director Jackie Griffin. 

The fundraising drive began this summer, said Berkeley Public Library Foundation Boardmember Michele Rabkin, but gained momentum after voters rejected Measure L, which would have erased the library’s total $1.2 million debt. 

After the vote, the foundation received its biggest pledge—$40,000 from Berkeley resident Alba Witkin. 

Griffin said the library began fundraising before the election because even if Measure L had passed, the library still would have faced a shortfall in this year’s book-buying fund which it slashed from $1.2 million to $900,000. 

“We’re trying to avoid a hole in our collection,” Griffin said. 

She said the extra funds would pay for second copies of popular materials and more small press and independent literature. 

The Berkeley Public Library Foundation, which raises private funds, and the Friends of the Berkeley Public Library, which raises money book sales, both formed in the mid 1990s to raise money to furnish the central library after renovations were completed in 2003.›