The Newcomerstown Public Library Fundraising Committee has set a goal of $277,000.

The committee, comprised of 15 area residents, met Sept. 23 to look at how best to keep the Newcomerstown Library open and thriving despite devastating budget cuts that began in July.

The fundraising goal represents the amount of funds needed to pay off the loan used to complete the new building in 2000. Paying off the loan will save the library $26,000 annually and free up nearly $25,000 tied up in a reserve fund required by the USDA loan. Paying off the loan will generate the $50,000 the library needs to balance the 2010 budget and save the library more than $104,000 in interest over the next 15 years.

"It is an ambitious goal," said library director Linda Hren, "but the committee knows that the community has a tremendous history of supporting their library."

The community raised over $100,000 to renovate the old library in 1990 and in 2000 raised over $200,000 to help construct the new building that many residents consider the jewel of the community. The 2000 fundraising campaign was dubbed, "The Little Library that Could Campaign," and the fundraising committee believes the spirit that built the new library is alive and well among area residents you "can" keep their library open and thriving in spite of budget cuts.

The committee plans numerous fundraising activities, in addition to appealing for direct donations to the fundraising campaign. Subcommittees are planning a variety of events that will be fun for those who participate.

The Fundraising Committee will meet again Monday, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. in the Library Annex.

For information or to find out how you can help, visit the Newcomerstown Public Library at 123 E. Main St., Newcomerstown.

Visit the Web site at www.newcomerstownlibrary.org or call 498-7706. You can also e-mail the Hren at lhren@newcomerstownlibrary.org.

Donations to libraries are tax deductible under IRS section 107(c) 3.