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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Library Foundation of Needham?

The LFN was established by the Needham Free Public Library Board of Trustees to build a permanent endowment fund to support enhancements beyond the town-funded library budget.   

Why does the Library need additional funds beyond what the town provides?

The town budget covers library materials and employee salaries. There is no money for library programs in the town budget. The LFN provides additional funding beyond the town budget which allows for increased program offerings, expansion of the collection and purchase of special equipment and services.

Will contributions to the LFN provide partial funding for the library’s annual budget?
No. State regulations specify the level of support a town must provide to its library in order for the library to maintain State Certification. If a library is not certified, it is not eligible to receive State Aid, apply for state or federal grants or participate in reciprocal borrowing and lending with other libraries.


Doesn’t the library have trust funds?

Yes, but many have restricted use.  The investments are managed by the elected Commissioners of Trust Funds.  The elected Board of Library Trustees must allocate these funds for their designated purposes.

Are the contributions to the LFN charitable donations?

Yes. The LFN is a 501(c)(3) corporation.  

How are contributions to the LFN recognized?

Donors to the LFN are recognized in three main ways.  The Donor Wall opposite the Rosemary Street main entrance acknowledges gifts greater than $10,000.  Donors to the rainwater recovery system and trees are listed on the second floor balustrade facing the parking lot.  Donors to the glass balustrade around the main staircase were recognized for their $150 contributions.   Opportunities for naming spaces within the Library are also available in recognition of major contributions. These are recognized with a plaque naming the donor of that space.

How do the LFN and Friends of the Library differ?

Both groups work to enrich the library. 

The LFN accepts contributions but is not membership-based. The LFN has built and manages a permanent endowment fund from donor contributions that will be available for future generations of Needham residents.  It provides a steady revenue stream to augment the programs and services of the library. Grant applications for programs and resources to be funded by the LFN are the responsibility of the library director and staff and must be approved by the LFN.  Such requests can be initiated by the general public through the library director.

The Friends are a membership-based organization. Annual membership dues and the sale of donated books are the primary sources of revenue for the Friends of the Library. The funds are generated and spent annually.  Programs offered by the Friends are selected and arranged by the Friends’ Program Committee. Allocations to the library “wish list” are made semi-annually by the Friends’ Board of Directors and by the Children’s Department for the Summer Reading Program.

How is the LFN governed?

The all-volunteer Board of Directors meets periodically throughout the year to direct fund-raising efforts for the Library Foundation’s endowment, to review the management of the endowment funds and for the disbursement of those funds to approved grant requests.

How are Foundation disbursements decided?

The board allocates approximately 4 percent of available assets annually and disburses these funds twice a year.

Who manages the money?

The LFN Board manages the endowment with the support of an investment advisor specializing in non-profit endowment management.

How can I help the LFN?

Your financial donation will help us grow the Endowment. You may also volunteer as a member of the Board of Directors. To learn more about how to help, contact the LFN at

I have heard about “Materials By Mail”. What is that all about?           
The Materials-by-Mail service is available to Needham residents who are prevented from using the Library's facilities due to disabilities. Library materials are sent to the homebound via the U.S. Postal Service in sturdy canvas bags provided by the Library Foundation. The Materials-by-Mail service may be requested by a recipient or by a caregiver, by telephone or in writing. For more information, visit and look under the Features and Services tab.

How does the Little Free Library work?
The LFN has four Little Free Libraries located around Needham. They are part of a worldwide effort to support literacy.  They are conveniently located next to the Town Hall, at Greene’s Field, Perry Park, and Avery Square.  Children and adults are encouraged to take a book they like. The borrower may then bring the book back to the same location or share it with friends. Take a Book   Share a Book.  It works on the honor system. Just Read! The LFN maintains the bookshelves and keeps them stocked.

How can I find out more about the dates, time, and information for library programs?
There are a lot of programs for adults as well as for teens and young children. To get the full information, go to or pick up the Library Notes newsletter near the Circulation Desk. Share events with family and friends, and join us in the Library Community Room or the Children’s Story Room.

What technology and equipment have you provided in order for residents to have a better experience when visiting the library?
We have supported the addition of a charging station for personal devices.  With the Friends, the LFN upgraded the wi-fi network throughout the library and underwrote the technology improvements for audiovisual programming in the Community Room. The Foundation purchased a stage that is used in the Community Room. We have supported trials of several new databases offered through the library and provided the electronic bulletin board at the Rosemary Street entrance.

How does the LFN support “STEAM” efforts for learning?
The Children’s Department has a “STEAM” Room and offers programming throughout the year on “STEAM” related topics.


How can I find out more about museum passes available at the Library?
Reservations for Museum Passes can be made online at or at the Circulation Desk at the Library.

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