Over 80 supporters of the South Hero Library met Tuesday, August 14, at Snow Farm Vineyard to celebrate groundbreaking for the new library building and to induct members into the Worthen Society, a group formed to recognize financial supporters of the Library.
Over hors d’oeuvres and wine from locally grown grapes, attendees heard from local residents about the impact of the South Hero Library on their lives and on the community. Julie and Dave Lane, proprietors of Snow Farm Vineyard, remembered Dave’s mother’s efforts volunteering at the original library located at what is now the South Hero Museum on Route 2. Dave also remembered helping as a young man to move the library when it was relocated to its current location at Folsom School. Peg Clark, President of the South Hero Historical Society, anticipated the benefit of having a community space for meetings in the new library building.
Terry Delano remembered late resident, friend, and university professor Ed Worthen. Ed valued learning, but recognized that a library can also serve as a community center and place where people can gather, and had often expressed frustration that South Hero lacked such a place. It dawned on Ed that he could make a difference – he left his estate to the South Hero Library, an act that gave a start to the new library building fund.
At the meeting, Ken Kowalewitz, Chair of the South Hero Library Foundation, announced the creation of the Worthen Society to recognize all who have given financial support to the Library or to the building fund. “The South Hero Library is possible because of the support of residents” said Kowalewitz. “We wanted to create a way to recognize this support.” Kowalewitz explained that while the library receives some funding for operation from taxpayers, residents have separately raised almost $1.5 million for the new library building from donations and grants. “The Worthen Society is a way to recognize and celebrate the direct financial support of individuals and families. It is also a way to create a lasting endowment for the Library to ensure its success long into the future.”
Kowalewitz explained that the Worthen Society recognizes two types of giving. The Diana Cleborne Circle of Giving recognizes members who have provided current gifts to the Library and its building fund, while the Muriel Jacoby Circle of Giving celebrates members who have included the Library in their estate plan. Diana Cleborne, Library Director at South Hero 2010-2012 and long-time Library Board member, attended the celebration and was appreciated by the audience for her donation earmarked for windows in the new library.
Muriel Jacoby, a retired teacher, nurse, and member of the Library Board of Trustees, was remembered by her husband Ray in remarks to the crowd. “This is one of the most important days of my life” said Ray. “One of the things I said to my wife when she was dying was, we’ve got the library. She worked for the library; she loved that library. She had to stop working when she became ill.” Ray commemorated his wife with a generous donation, which the Library recognized by dedicating the Director’s Office in her name. Ray exhorted the audience to contribute to the Library’s current building fund drive, which is currently just $85,000 short of its goal. “Let’s get the damn thing done!”
Although the Library has raised over $40,000 in recent weeks and has begun construction, over $85,000 is still needed to complete the building fund and open the doors by next summer. You can help put the building fund over the top by donating at http://www.southherolibrary.org or mailing a check to the South Hero Library Foundation. For more information about supporting the Library through your estate plan, call the library at 802-372-6209 or stop by at 75 South Street, South Hero.