Letter from the Burns Lake Public Library

Burns Lake Library returns over $5,200 raised through calendar fundraiser

Regulation under Gaming Grants prohibits library from using funds to cover operational costs

Burns Lake Public Library returned funds raised through their July Calendar fundraiser, back to the community, with a heavy heart, after a regulation under the gaming grant came to light.

The library had put together a fundraiser to help support its operations, and through a simple call to the public, had managed to raise a whopping $5,200 in donations.

“We live in a very special community. When we reached out to the local businesses and organizations, we were touched with the response. The total of over $5,200 in cash, gift cards and prizes were donated to the fundraiser,” said Library Director, Monika Willner. “In fact, Tech North Solutions was very generous with supplying a grand prize worth $1600.”

However, the library found out about a regulation which had them returning all the funds back to its donors. According to the regulation, while the Gaming, Policy and Enforcement Branch was able to issue the library an event license number to support the fundraiser, as a government-operated library, the library wouldn’t have been able to keep the proceeds from the fundraiser. Instead, they would be expected to donate the funds further.

“After seeing the support and excitement in the community for this fundraiser, it was very hard to go back to everyone and return their generous donations,” said Willner.

In a letter issued by the library, the vice-chair of the board of trustees, Jennifer Petersen noted that as soon as the library became aware of the regulation, they decided to return the funds.

“We, as trustees of the public library, find it very frustrating that the library is unable to apply for gaming grants to support the library’s financial needs, and we are unable to fundraise with a gaming license,” she wrote.

Upon returning the funds under these circumstances, several businesses decided to make a direct donation to the library, Willner added.

“It is not difficult to receive a grant for a specific type of project, however, none of them will cover the operational expenses. The fundraiser would have been an opportunity to raise some money that can be used for these kinds of costs,” she explained.

The library is now hoping that their annual book sale, which will be taking place from July 12 to 16, at the Lakeview Mall, will help bring in some funds.

“We hope that we will be able to raise some extra funds during this week. We have to brainstorm some other fundraising ideas for the future,” said Willner.