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M. Jamie Self, executive director of the Jacksonville Public Library Foundation in the Children's Department at the Main Library Downtown. The mural behind him was one of the foundation's 2016 projects.
Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jan. 10, 201712:00 PM EST

'One-man band' sets fundraising goal of $1M for Jacksonville Public Library Foundation

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

M. Jamie Self is a man on a mission. You could say he’s the man on the mission.

The mission is to raise at least $1 million in the next 12 months for the Jacksonville Public Library Foundation

He’s the man on the mission because he’s the executive director and the development director of the organization.

He also answers the phone at the foundation’s office at the Main Library Downtown.

“I’m the sole employee. You could say I’m a one-man band,” Self said.

He works in conjunction with library administrators to identify potential benefactors and connect them with philanthropic opportunities.

Donations benefit programs that are over and above the financial support the library receives each year from the city general fund.

The 2016-17 budget for the 20 libraries in the system is $31.2 million.

The foundation was established 30 years ago when a benefactor made a gift of about $1 million to the library, when there was really no system in place to accept and manage such a gift, Self said.

With its 501c3 status, the foundation can go after grants the library, as part of the city government, might not be able to pursue.

“Since the foundation is a private nonprofit, there’s no conflict with the city,” he said.

Last year — Self’s first as director — he and the foundation’s board of directors raised about $210,000, of which $130,000 went to enhancing library programs and the balance for foundation operations.

This year’s goal is to raise $1 million to support additional programs related to education and technology.

One way that will happen is through the “High $5 for Kids” program that allows people to donate as little as $5 to help support library programs.

Self said a donation portal is available year-round for the campaign on the organization’s website, but the foundation is planning an outreach effort March-May to coincide with the inaugural Jax Book Fest on March 25 at the Main Library.

Another giving opportunity is the Golden Book Society. People who donate at least $1,000 to the foundation help increase the Next Chapter Endowment that’s also used to supplement library programs and services.

“We’re also looking for event sponsors and we have naming opportunities at the libraries,” Self said.

To learn more about the foundation and the programs that can be supported through donations, visit

[email protected]

(904) 356-2466

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