Payson Library Receives $20k Grant


Payson Library Friends Billie Gibbs and Peggy Freeman went down to the Valley Tuesday with Library Director Terry Morris to pick up a check for $20,000 from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.

The Library Friends were among 21 Arizona nonprofit organizations receiving grant checks and commitments totaling nearly $3 million from the trust of the wife of Eugene C. Pulliam, Central Newspapers, Inc. founder, who died in 1975.

Nina Mason Pulliam was the publisher of The Arizona Republic and The Phoenix Gazette until 1978. When she died in 1997, a trust was established in her name which funds projects that center around her interests.

The Payson library fit nicely into the criterion that was established for funding: "to enhance the human condition by providing basic necessities and services for people in need." Among the services the trust helps fund are nonprofit entities that improve education.

The Payson Public Library was among 116 Arizona agencies that originally applied last September.

"We're just so thrilled to see that Billie's hard work is paying off," said Barbara Tejack, a member of the Payson Library Friends.

Tejack said Billie Gibbs, chairman of the major donations committee, had applied for numerous grants. She applied for the grant in September and the Library Friends were notified in November that they were selected to submit a final application. They found out just two weeks ago that the application was approved.

On Thursday Gibbs, Morris and Freeman were at the library pointing out all the things that were needed. The check for $20,000 will be added to the Library Friends' building fund, which now totals about $300,000. The money will be used to buy furnishings and equipment that will go in the new library at Rumsey Park.

One of the things that's sorely needed is shelving, which can only be purchased from a library supplier at $100 a foot for a double-sided section, Morris said.

"You pay through the nose for library supplies from a catalog," she said. "But you have to get shelves that are specially made."

"We have to lie on the floor to read the books on the bottom shelves," said Freeman, who is vice president of the Library Friends.

She said older volunteers can get down to restock the shelves, "but they can't get up."

Morris also is considering the addition of a puppet theater in the children's section of the new library.

She said any furniture, tables and other items that aren't required to be purchased from a library supplier will be purchased locally.

"The money stays right here in Payson," she said.

The new library's circulation desk and built-in display cabinets are all a part of the building package and have been figured into the cost of the new library.

Morris, Gibbs and Freeman wandered around the library, now located in the Womans Club building on Main Street, and talked about the books now jammed onto the shelves, the waiting lines for the computers and the tiny area where children read.

They went out the back door of the library where a pile of "crummy old chairs" lay strewn about unused. A bright pink flowering plum tree glowed against a blue, blue sky. It was a tree that few saw.

Perhaps, Morris said, with the books and the computers and the other items associated with the library, the tree could be moved to the new library site at Rumsey Park where many more could enjoy it.

"Then a part of the old could become a part of the new," she said.

Morris said the building plans for the new library will go before the Payson Town Council Thursday, March 23.

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