While the future of the Seneca Library remains uncertain, the Seneca Library Foundation continues to raise funds to benefit their local library branch.

SENECA — While the future of the Seneca Library remains uncertain, the Seneca Library Foundation continues to raise funds to benefit their local library branch.

Josh Dodson, Seneca Area Chamber of Commerce president and Seneca Library Foundation member, said while the fundraising has been going "awesome," the group has also continued to look for additional fundraising opportunities.

"I can tell you right now we are raising money, pledges are coming in, donations are coming in," Dodson said. "We have gained quite a bit of money."

Dodson was not ready to release just how much has been raised at this point, though he said the group did initially set a fundraising goal of $10,000, in order to fund programs such as the summer reading program and the children's literacy program at the Seneca library.

One of the foundation's upcoming fundraising events will be held in conjunction with the Seneca City-Wide garage sale, set for Saturday, May 4.

The Seneca Library Rummage Sale Fundraiser, scheduled from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be held in the Seneca Junior High gymnasium.

Vendors will be charged $20 for a booth space, and have the option of keeping the proceeds they raise or donating them to the library.

Dodson said the $20 booth fee will go directly to the library fund.

"We have several that have expressed interest in giving us their stuff to sale so that we can make money for the library, so that's another option," Dodson said.

He said organizers would also fundraise by hosting a concession stand at the sale, made possible by community donations, including from G&W Foods and Seneca House.

"We're not using anything out of the library foundation that's been raised, we're not using a dime of that because our intention is all of that money goes directly towards the library," Dodson said.

Andrea Nichols, organizer of the Seneca Library Rummage Sale Fundraiser, said she got the idea to host the fundraiser after participating in two similar events when she lived in Northwest Arkansas.

"I was just a vendor at those two but they were really busy all the time and they had huge turnouts for the vendors and for participants, so I thought something like that would work out here," Nichols said.

"Everybody's pretty excited about it, everyone that I've sent flyers to or that I've talked to, everybody was very interested, especially since it's helping out the Seneca Library."

The Neosho Newton County Library board announced in September their plans to shut the doors to the Seneca library, due to financial constraints. However, after a group of Seneca residents approached the board in their October meeting, the library was given a six-month reprieve, with June 2013 set as the new closing date.

In March, the board announced that the Seneca library would remain open through the end of their fiscal year, which ends in December.

In February, the group that had organized to save the Seneca branch formed the Seneca Library Foundation under the Neosho Area Business and Industrial Foundation (NABIFI).

Dodson said funds donated to the foundation, including those raised at the rummage sale, will be used to assist the Seneca library in any way necessary.

"The children's literacy program, which is a computer program for the children to use, it's got to be updated," Dodson said. "The five computers, they're five years out of date, they've got to be updated."
He said money raised beyond that could go toward anything from new chairs for the Seneca branch to funding operating costs if the Neosho Newton County Library Board ultimately votes to close the branch.
For now, the foundation is focused on raising as much as they can to hang on to their local library.
For those interested in lending a hand, Nichols said the group is still in need of volunteers for the Seneca Library Rummage Sale Fundraiser. She said there is also plenty of booth space still available.

If interested in helping or signing up, contact Nichols at 417-312-3381 or email her at andreanichols86@gmail.com.

Those interested in making a donation to the foundation can contact Dodson at 417-438-3071 or leave a check with Lori Scribner at Community National Bank in Seneca. Dodson said checks need to be made out to NABIFI, with Seneca Library Foundation written in the memo line.

Dodson said the Foundation is also in the midst of planning a second fundraiser, a talent show, to be held during their fourth of July festivities. The Seneca's Got Talent competition will take place July 5 and 6, he said.

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The Seneca City-Wide Garage sale will also be taking place throughout the town May 4, and Dodson said in years past the event has drawn bargain-hunters from across the four-state area.
He said the sale was traditionally held the first weekend of May, though organizers had gotten away from that in recent years. Dodson said the Chamber now plans to get back in the practice of holding the sale the first weekend in May.

He said those holding a garage sale can drop off a form at the Campbell-Biddlecome Funeral Home in Seneca, or can contact the event's co-sponsor, the Newton County News.