Pettes Memorial Library inches closer to fundraising goal for expansion project

By Taylor McClure – Special to Brome County News

After reaching its $1.5 million goal for its silent fundraising campaign last summer, the Pettes Memorial Library launched its public fundraising campaign, also with a set goal of $1.5 million, for its future expansion project. After various donations from the local community, and recent contribu-tions from the Bédard and Beaudoin families, the board of trustees for Pettes Memorial announced that it is one step closer to achieving success with its public campaign with a total of $1.3 million having been raised so far. Its combined total goal is $5.2 million and with a $1 million contribution from the Town of Brome Lake and other grants expected to come through. Construction for the expansion project is within reach.

“We are pleased with what we have achieved so far, but we are not stopping at this moment; we can’t relax,” said Leslie Jonas, president of the fundraising campaign and treasurer for the Board of Trustees.

The fundraising campaign was taken on by a group of ambassadors for the library who reached out and developed connections with important donors. “As we know, we have a team of ambassadors who have worked very hard and have been very successful. We have a broad range of people who contributed from $50 up to $600,000. We are also enthusiastic that we had support from the Eng-lish and francophone community,” emphasized Jonas.

Recent donations from Alain Bédard and his wife Johanne Dean and Laurent Beaudoin and Claire Beaudoin, all residents of Brome Lake, brought Pettes Memorial closer to its public fundraising goal after their contributions brought the total amount raised to $1.3 million.

“I think it’s very important because of education, reading, and the right values for families. A li-brary is accessible to everyone and it’s a huge need,” emphasized Dean, who moved to Brome Lake two years ago. “Suzanne (member of Board of Trustees) explained to me that they have to warehouse the books at other areas because they have no space; they literally have no room. What I also found very interesting is that there are a lot of writers in the area and it would be great if they come for lectures. I think it will benefit everyone so the project is a must. We think it’s a beautiful area, the people are very nice, we feel at home, and we want to do our part to help.”

Apart from its silent and public campaigns, Pettes Memorial has received support in the form of $1 million from the Town of Brome Lake and is expecting to receive confirmation for provincial sup-port. “We are expecting $1.3 million or more from the provincial government. We had a verbal confirmation, but nothing in writing yet,” mentioned Jonas.

The library also submitted an application seeking $700,000 of financial assistance from the federal government recognizing that construction and material costs may increase, as has been the trend for the last couple of years. “We never changed numbers in terms of our goals because inflation is not something we can pin down until we get quotations in,” said Jonas. “The $5.2 million number at the beginning, we are still keeping, but we think it’s going to be more than that. The need is going to be more.”

Jonas noted that Pettes Memorial is keeping its plans flexible to adapt to whatever reality it may face, adding that the new multipurpose space will contribute to the community and will fit right in with the town’s downtown revitalization project of Coldbrook Park. “The library, in modern times, requires you to be more than a book depositor. There’s a lot of electronics and multimedia activity. We already have CDs, DVDs, electronic books, and all of those kinds of things. We’re looking forward to not only housing more of our books, but having a variety of activities beyond what we can do now,” he said.

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