MILLIGAN COLLEGE — A penny saved is a penny earned.
That’s a mantra that could easily be applied to a campaign at Milligan College that is seeking donations in order to renovate the school’s P.H. Welshimer Memorial Library.
The Million Pennies Campaign began in March 2010 and is still going strong, according to library officials Gary Daught and Jeff Harbin. The campaign, which set out to collect one million pennies, or $10,000, from students, faculty and staff, was born out of Milligan’s Forward Ever capital campaign.
As an alumnus of Milligan, Harbin, user services librarian, said being a part of the school’s capital campaigns as a student can often feel out of reach, so the idea of collecting pocket-change to meet the library’s needs seemed like the perfect way for students to be able to participate and feel like they can take some ownership in the library space.
“It always felt like we wanted to see those changes take place, but there was nothing we could do to help those changes come about,” Harbin said.
Harbin said they decided on the $10,000 goal because that’s the lowest amount that can be donated in order to name a room or space within the library. Once that goal is met, the library will take suggestions from the Milligan community on what that name will be.
Since the Million Pennies Campaign began, the library has raised about $4,700 thanks to donations from students, faculty, staff and alumni, in addition to revenue from the library’s annual book sales.
“It always is a good feeling when people walk in. We have several professors who save their changes all month and then give it to us at the end of the month,” Harbin said. “It’s nice to see that. It feels like you’re getting your message across and that they value the services you provide by helping out in that small but concrete way.”
The money will be used for a myriad of renovations, including new windows, a new HVAC system, an elevator, a cafe and upgrading the building’s electrical system — all of which are much-needed improvements to a building that hasn’t seen much in the way of renovation since it was built in 1961. School officials said the projected budget of a full-scale renovation of the library is about $4 million.
While no drastic renovations to the building have taken place since it was built, the library has undergone some remodeling projects in the past, mostly in terms of carpeting, painting and repurposing spaces.
The library is in the midst of celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, and Daught, director of library services, said that while the building itself was extremely well-built, it needs to be updated in order to meet its ever-changing demands.
“The library is being used more than ever before and so we wanted to make sure that we’re attentive to our users and provide them with an adequate space,” he said.