The following is a Guest Post by Nancy Ellor, who has a degree in marketing and loves libraries almost as much as she loves running.
The Sally Stretch Keen Memorial Library of Vincentown, NJ, is like every other library across the nation struggling to stay open these days. However, the staff there has been thinking outside the box to raise funds for the last 20 years. They created a 5k (3.1 mile) Race and 1 mile Fun Run called "Stop the Jade Run" to reach outside the township lines for donations. Each runner "donates" a registration fee of $20. The money raised from this race was typically used to buy books and implement programs, but these days it is being used to help keep the library in operation because of the budget cuts.
To publicize the event, the library mails out a race application to members of its mailing list, and posts the event on the township website and of course on its own site and in the library as well. Runners are a tight-knit group, so word spreads fast through the running community once races are announced. This one is held in early Spring so it's a good warm-up for the running season, and the scenic route makes it popular.
Once again this year, I participated in the 15th “Stop the Jade” Run. That morning, I picked up my race number in front of the Children’s Library, chatted with a few friends, and then had to decide between a long-sleeved white cotton t-shirt with a great picture of the library on it or the race's signature tie-dye. (I decided on a little adventure and selected the tie-dye.)
The race director, Ed Moore, was on hand to explain the name of the race to those interested. "Stop the Jade Run" is the name of a nearby stream that flows into the Rancocas Creek northwest of Vincentown. With a name like that, you can imagine the interest and creativity it generates. Naming a running race after a "run" (alternate name for "creek" or "stream") is a fun play on words. I found a post recently with various explanations of the origin of the name. Odd names provide unique opportunities to get people interested in your library!
This year's race had a total of 64 runners so it raised more than $1,000 for the library. Congratulations to the volunteers and organizers who help to support my local library and keep it on the map. Why not try something like this in your town?