Whitman County Library District kicks off National Library Week with penny drive

Fundraiser has occurred annually since 2006; library system typically raises around $1,000



Schools normally hold competitions to raise money. Due to COVID-19 there were no competitions, and the libraries are relying more on donations this year.


The Whitman County Rural Library System is holding a penny drive as part of National Library Week.

National Library Week is April 4-10, but the Whitman County Library will run their fundraiser through the end of the month, said public services librarian Sarah Phelan-Blamires.

National Library Week celebrates libraries across the country, and the county uses this time to gain traction and get donations from patrons, said Sheri Miller, library associate director and youth services manager.

The library system offers multiple children’s programs, a digital library, Wi-Fi, printing, movies, newspapers and magazines. 

At each of the 14 branch locations, patrons can donate spare change that goes toward youth programs like story time to-go bags and science crafts, Miller said. The funding stays within the branch that donors give to.

Coins and bills can be dropped inside a piggy bank that is located inside each library in the system, but patrons can also give donations over the phone, Phelan-Blamires said. The library receives public funding but does rely on donations.

“We use the donations to supplement our youth programs so we can do more than our regular funding allows,” she said. 

The county library system has been doing the Penny Drive since 2006, but a drive was not hosted last year because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, Miller said. 

Typically, schools hold competitions to raise money. Miller said there were no class competitions this year, so they are relying on patrons to donate. 

“Letters will go out asking for donations as well,” she said. 

The Whitman County Rural Library System typically raises $1,000 from the annual Penny Drive, Miller said. Some of the donations also go toward funding repairs around library branches.

The library system is also hosting a “Day in the Life of the Library” campaign on social media, Phelan-Blamires said. Photos of library staff, book collections and patrons will be shared on Instagram and Facebook.