Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

June 23, 2014

FAITH BRAUTIGAM: Public library plants seeds for the future

Consider a donation to new library fund

If you look carefully, you can’t help but notice they are absolutely perfect. The recently sprouted seedlings are tiny replicas of the plant made famous by Jack who climbed a beanstalk and found treasure. Soon they will send out runners and begin climbing the nearby fence. Then they will form blossoms, followed by tiny baby beans and eventually fully mature ones just waiting to be picked.

As I check on my seedlings’ progress, they remind me of a new venture we are embarking on at KHCPL. The library has built on its long history of serving our community by opening a fund at the Community Foundation. While bean seedlings and alternative revenue streams are quite distinct, there are a number of ways in which the analogy works.

When I purchased the packet of bean seeds, snow was still on the ground. Even when I opened the packet to plant them, I held nothing but a few dried seeds, each one so lightweight I could barely feel its presence in my hand. There was no immediate gratification; it was all about the future. The same is true of the fund we’ve begun. It is very modest, only a beginning. Our plan to produce interest that benefits the library isn’t about current library needs, or even the imminent future. The outlook for public funding indicates supplemental funding will be needed, so people who donate to this fund won’t be thinking about themselves but planning for what’s in store. They will be investing in our community’s future. There’s a reason money used to start something new is referred to as “seed” money.

Because the value is in their potential, my emerging seedlings are all about growth. If my plants remained 1 inch tall, I would have no hope for produce on my dinner plate. I’m not sure you can refer to my modest plantings as a crop, but I would be very surprised if they don’t produce a yield of some sort. The same is true of our new fund. Despite occasional downturns in the market, well-invested money grows more money. We have every confidence money placed in the Community Foundation will be professionally managed and are pleased to have this valuable community resource available to benefit us all.

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