I write award-winning historical romance about pirates, privateers, smugglers and the occasional possum.
Last night the Alachua County Library District Foundation held its annual meeting, and I'm pleased to report we're very close to reaching our first million dollars on our endowment fund. Thirty years ago I helped create the independent taxing district for our library, ensuring that our budget couldn't be cut to put money into roads or other "more vital" county needs. Since then I've worked with the Foundation to provide additional supplemental funding for our library through our endowment fund.
The fund has already been tapped to build Teen Centers in existing branches, and Snuggle Up centers (story areas for pre-schoolers) in all of our county libraries. This year we're opening up a new bricks-and-mortar branch on the east side of town, a historically underserved area where our temporary branch is already used to capacity.
At a time when people question the need to fund public libraries in the age of electronic media, I can assure you my 21st century library is serving more people in more ways than ever before. You'll be hearing more about a particular project in which I'm involved, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice. In the meantime, enjoy your public libraries! As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said in one of my favorite quotes, "I enjoy paying taxes. With them, I buy civilization."