Tilton Library raises $827K toward expansion project, with efforts to continue in 2024

Tilton Library on North Main Street in South Deerfield.

Tilton Library on North Main Street in South Deerfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 10-10-2023 5:27 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — As Tilton Library’s expansion project continues through the design phase, it is preparing to close out a year of fundraising with a Halloween event and follow up with an online campaign in the new year.

To date, the library has raised more than $827,000 toward its fundraising campaign goal of $2 million, which will offset a portion of the total $12.3 million project cost. This will expand the building from 4,366 to 12,784 square feet and include energy-efficiency upgrades, renovations of existing rooms and improved accessibility.

Library Director Candace Bradbury-Carlin said fundraising is progressing at a steady rate and their strategy will transition from event-based fundraising to a digital campaign in the late winter and early spring. In addition, the library has reached out to 160 Deerfield-based businesses to begin conversations around donations or other sponsorship opportunities.

“With the events, it’s about making connections and building awareness, and that’s definitely done that,” Bradbury-Carlin said, adding that Greenfield Savings Bank has committed a multi-year pledge of $30,000 to the project, as well as sponsorship of the library’s upcoming fundraiser.

Bradbury-Carlin said fundraising efforts will “lay low” in the last months of 2023 to set aside time for the holidays and support the library’s annual fundraising efforts toward its operating budget.

She added the library will likely miss its fundraising goal of $1 million by the end of 2023, but she expects to hit the mark soon after the calendar flips with individual and business donations. On top of those efforts, Bradbury-Carlin plans to explore grant opportunities from a variety of sources to push the fundraising effort past the $2 million finish line.

“We had hoped to raise a million by the end of this year and it’s still possible, but most likely that will happen in the winter when we get the public campaign going,” Bradbury-Carlin said. “It’s a multi-pronged approach. … We’re just approaching it in any way we feel can be successful.”

With Tilton Library’s fundraising efforts continuing, its next event is a Halloween costume ball at Quonquont Farm in Whately on Oct. 27, from 6 to 9 p.m. Folks are invited to dress up as their favorite book or film character and eat, drink, dance and support the library.

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Themed cocktails will be available and local DJ Robert “Bobby C” Campbell will be spinning tunes. Prizes will be awarded for best costume, local author Jedediah Berry will read spooky stories and a silent auction will also be held. Tickets, which cost $108, come with a free drink ticket. More information and a link to purchase a ticket can be found at bit.ly/3tmW4Rs.

In the coming weeks, the library is expected to make a decision on the temporary home it will occupy during construction. The project is expected to go out to bid in November, with a planned start date of January.

For more information about Tilton Library’s expansion project, visit its website at tiltonlibrary.org.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.