Support Lewes Public Library


Community support is critical to our continued growth and vitality as a public resource. You can make a difference and help ensure a bright future for generations to come by making a gift to the Library. Please read on to learn more about how you can help.

How the Library is Funded

The Lewes Public Library is an “independent library” within the Delaware Division of Libraries consortium. As such, the Library must raise over half of its annual operating funds each year. The Library has two sources of governmental funding: Sussex County and the State of Delaware. The remaining funds needed each year must be raised through our own efforts of soliciting grants and donations, collecting fines and fees, and holding fundraising events, as well as through the efforts of the Friends of Lewes Public Library.

Annual Appeal:

The Annual Appeal, held in November of each year, is an endeavor of the Library Board of Commissioners to help provide operating expenses as well as build reserves for the future growth and needs of the library. To contribute to the Annual Appeal, you can give online or download and complete an Annual Appeal form, then mail or drop it off at the Library with a check payable to the Lewes Public Library.

Legacy Society

These members are all those who have remembered the Library in their wills as well as all those who have made significant lifetime donations of $25,000 or more. View the list of current Legacy Society members.

We recognize and honor these very important donors in a variety of ongoing ways:

  • Society members are listed on a special display in the Library lobby, as well as in the Legacy Society brochure.
  • Society members are invited as our guest to special events at the Library, including our fundraising events.
  • Society members receive a Legacy Society pin. If you are a member and have not received your pin, please contact the Library Director.

View the Legacy Society Brochure or meet some of our Legacy Society members.

Most Legacy Society gifts are made by including a simple paragraph in donors’ wills. To execute a bequest, simply ask your attorney to make an addition to your will, then let us know – we will be pleased to welcome you to the Legacy Society. If you need assistance preparing a will, we can help.

There also are planned gifts that can pay you income during your lifetime(s) before eventually being received by the Library. If you would like to explore other types of charitable giving instruments, we can arrange a consultation for you at no charge.

If you have already named the Library in your will or estate, please let us know by completing this form so we may add you to our Legacy Society listings and invitation lists. You also may use this form to indicate you would like to speak with someone about adding the Library to your estate plans.

View sample bequest language.

Memorials and Named Tributes

Engraved pavers are located within the “allee” – the shaded walkway through the parking lot leading to the Library entrance that is the centerpiece of the grounds. Thank you to everyone who participated in this fundraiser. However we are no longer accepting Tribute Paver requests.
The new Library has 540 solar panels which are expected to generate ALL the energy needs to heat and cool our new, larger Library. Combined with passive lighting, LED lights, and a new VRF system, solar makes the new Library one of the greenest, most cost-efficient buildings in the greater Lewes region.

To sponsor one or more of our array of solar panels, view Solar Panel brochure.

View the list of current Solar Panel donors.

Environmental Benefits to Date:

 246,352.72 lbs of coal offset         powered 1,000 homes for 25 days        559 trees saved                   

Celebrate the children and grandchildren of greater Lewes by having their names and a special message engraved on the “Learning Tree”. This colorful tree is located in the Children’s Wing and has branches that will expand as up to 300 leaves are added.

Engraved leaves may be purchased in three colors – gold, silver and bronze at $300, $200, $100 each, respectively.

To purchase a Learning Tree leaf, view the Learning Tree Brochure.

Donations of $5000 or more are eligible for a naming opportunity. Please contact the Development Director.

Reserve Fund

Our long-term reserves form a long-term, permanent fund that provides income each year to support a charitable cause. A gift to this fund can be a lasting expression of your appreciation for the Library and respects the wishes of each donor.
The Library Board of Commissioners allocates the annual income from the reserve fund for the enhancement of library services forever. Also the Board has established the “For the Next 50 Years Fund” to provide for long-term capital maintenance and improvement needs for the new library-owned facility.
A reserve fund provides essential stability. It facilitates the strategic use of the fund because it allows the Library to plan on the income from one year to the next. A reserve fund provides an excellent option for donors who want to make a planned gift.
Planned giving describes a number of giving options that allow donors to support the Library during their lifetime and/or after their deaths, while meeting current income needs and providing for their heirs. Planned giving is often done in connection with estate planning or will preparation and is a giving option for donors of all income levels.
Anyone can support the Library’s future with a reserve fund gift of any size. Examples include gifts made through a will or trust, gifts of retirement plan assets, gifts of life insurance, gifts that pay you income for life, gifts through a charitable lead trust.

Many Ways To Give

These gifts have the advantage of seeing your gift at work helping the Library.

  • Cash Contributions – write a check to a fund at the Library.
  • Qualified Charitable Donations (QCDs) – direct transfers of funds from your IRA custodian payable to a qualified charity. QCDs can be counted toward satisfying your required minimum distributions (RMDs) for the year. In addition to helping the library, the amount donated, up to $100,000, is excluded from your taxable income.
  • Gifts of Property – be more philanthropic than you thought possible while receiving significant tax savings.
    • These may include securities, real estate and tangible property, such as artwork, books or equipment.
    • Irrevocable gifts of real estate can allow you to enjoy your assets in your lifetime and gain a tax benefit today.
    • Gifts of appreciated stock provide you with a double benefit – a charitable tax deduction for the full current market value and you won’t be subject to capital gains tax on the appreciation in value. Plus, you gain the satisfaction of helping the Library.

Information on how to complete a donation of stock may be found here.

Bequests – Over the years, many patrons and supporters have remembered the Library as they prepare or revise their wills. Leave a legacy by naming the Library endowment as a beneficiary. Options include:

  • Wills or other estate planning documents
  • Charitable Trusts
  • IRA or other qualified retirement plans
  • Insurance policies

Any business, community organization, or individual can show their support for the library by sponsoring one of our fundraising events.
Smail Memorial Scholarship Fund is established by gifts from the Smail Family and friends, and augmented by an anonymous donor, and provides scholarships to graduating high school students who have given exceptional service to the Library.

Individual donors may dictate the specific purpose/use for donations – which must be acceptable to the library.
  • When not directed by the donor, the library Board of Commissioners will determine whether funds received from donors are to be used as contributions to reserves, or to the annual operating budget.
  • Contributions in kind will be sold immediately and reinvested in conformity with this Policy.
  • The library’s planned giving program encompasses all types of gifts whose benefits do not fully accrue to the library until some future time (such as the death of the donor or other income beneficiaries or the expiration of a predetermined period of time) or whose benefits to the library are then followed by the interests of non-charitable beneficiaries.
  • The common types of planned giving opportunities offered by the library are:
    • Gifts by Will or Living Trust: the library encourages such donors to contact their professional advisors during their lifetime to discuss their charitable intent. Sample bequest language also is available from the library;
    • Gifts of Life Insurance: in general, the library will not accept ownership of life insurance policies on which the library itself must make payments, now or in the future, in order to keep the policy intact;
    • Charitable Gift Annuities;
    • Charitable Trusts: the library will not serve as a trustee for charitable trusts; and
    • Life Estate Agreements.

The Gift and Donation Policy may be found here.

For beneficiary designations, please use the legal name Lewes Public Library and the library’s federal tax ID #: 51-0350650. Thank you!

Do you have questions or need more information?
Please contact Rebecca Lowe, Library Development Director, at (302) 645-2733, ext. 4117 or by email.

The history of libraries in Lewes is long and rich. For the full story, read about Three Hundred Years of Generosity in Lewes.