First Chapters crowdfund

“If a child hasn’t held a book by age three, there’s very little the education system can do for that child.”
former Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander

First Chapters: FirstChaptersLogo
A lifetime of stories starts here

Join the Josephine Community Libraries crowdfund from July 13 to August 17, 2015 to update our children’s libraries. First Chapters is a project to raise $40,000 needed to improve the children’s libraries in Grants Pass and Illinois Valley. Monies raised will be used to buy new books, mobile shelving units, paint and new carpet for the two libraries. Click here to donate.

The goal of First Chapters

With the loss of the library district measure last November, volunteers and staff are finding creative ways to raise money for critical civic projects, like updating the children’s libraries. The library’s collection of books and materials is sorely outdated and programs like weekly storytimes are overcrowded. With new books and movable shelves, we will be able to better serve the families of Josephine County, setting kids up for a lifetime love of reading.

Through First Chapters, we plan to create exploratory, flexible, multimedia space with up-to-date books and materials for the youngest members of our community. Together, we can give Josephine County’s children the best chance to learn to love reading at the earliest age possible — in the most critical years of their life.

Everyone who voted yes for the library district last November, and has yet to make a direct contribution to the library, is encouraged to make a donation of any amount to help us reach our goal. If 1,600 people donated $25 each, we would be able to raise the funds to update our children’s libraries — together. Click here to donate.

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding builds on the idea that many small contributions add up to a large amount of funds to support a project. The library’s crowdfund project seeks to reach new donors, primarily from the 15,474 individuals who voted yes for the library district measure last November.

Currently, about 2,047 individuals donate to Josephine Community Libraries to keep the library open and operating, with 307 new donors having signed up during the Yellow Envelope Drive last December. Thanks to everyone who made it possible to keep the library’s doors open another year.

Additional funds are still needed in order to rebuild, repair, and modernize the children’s libraries and the collection of books. We are also seeking grant funding to support the First Chapters project, with initial funds already received from the Four Way Community Foundation, the Cheney Family Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Grants Pass, and the City of Cave Junction.

What’s in it for me?

Donations start at $5, with a variety of prizes for different levels, such as First Chapters t-shirts, cups, and hats, as well as special prizes like an overnight adventure for kids at the library. Click to learn more about prizes. The crowdfund campaign is only offered for a limited time, from July 13 to August 17.

The name of anyone who donates at any level is listed on the First Chapters thanks you page. Those who wish to remain anonymous are listed as “Anonymous.”

Other ways you can help

Help spread the word about First Chapters. Please like and share the video with family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues — anyone you think wants to support children’s libraries in Josephine County. Send them to this page (click one of the buttons at the bottom of this page to share on Facebook, Twitter, or email), and ask them to join you in donating!

Frequently asked questions

What will the updated space and books look like?
The updated space will be clean, open, and not too fancy. The new carpets in both libraries will be heavy duty, and colorful. Some of the bookshelves will have wheels so they can be easily moved to create more floor space for programs. The walls will be freshly painted and the shelves will be loaded with new nonfiction books for children. Parents and families will feel welcome, and it will be easy to locate books by age level. Everyone will be able to find a comfortable place to sit to read a book with a child or a friend. 

I have a ton of old children’s books I could donate — what about just using those?
While we accept book donations, many of the donations we receive are too old or worn to be added to the collection. First Chapters is a project to fund the purchase of newer books for children, especially nonfiction. Click to learn more about the library’s book donations policy.

How is this crowdfund any different than the fundraising that happens at other times of the year for the libraries?
The regular fundraising efforts by Josephine Community Libraries keep the four branch libraries open and operating in Grants Pass, Williams, Wolf Creek, and the Illinois Valley. Because the public libraries in Josephine County do not receive any regular funding from taxes, funds raised during the regular library drives in spring and fall are used to keep the lights on and the facilities working. In order to update the children’s libraries in Grants Pass and Williams, staff and volunteers must raise additional funds. Some additional funds for First Chapters will be acquired through grants.

More information

For more information about First Chapters and the crowdfunding drive, email

Josephine Community Libraries was awarded free crowdfunding consultation support from the civic crowdfunding group Oregon’s Kitchen Table, a project of the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University. 

Updated 7/13/2015