The Salina Public Library has a new person in a new position. Allyson Walker is the Head of Fundraising and Development.
Walker was raised in Lindsborg, Kansas, graduated from Smoky Valley High School, and in 2018, received her Marketing degree from Emporia State University. Walker focused on fulfilling her mission of helping people, leading her to the nonprofit arena. In early 2023, Walker returned to her roots when the Salina Public Library was in search of a team member to strengthen its relationship with the community and build the foundation for future growth. With the combination of Walker’s experience in the entrepreneurship space and business development, SPL was eager to have her unique fundraising insight.
“We are thrilled to welcome Allyson to the Salina Public Library. Her experience and passion for community building are exactly what we are looking for as we work to expand our capacity to offer quality library services in Salina,” Melanie Hedgespeth, SPL’s director, said. “The library’s tax-payer funded annual budget is sufficient for our day-to-day operations, but as we look to the future and consider the continuing spread of our community, aging of our building and opportunity to help Salina address future challenges we recognize additional support is needed.”
Since 1868, the Salina Public Library operated without a position designed specifically for Fundraising and Development. While programming, resources, outreach, and patrons continue to increase, the building itself has remained the same for many years. The relationship the Salina Public Library has already cultivated with the community has helped propel Walker’s efforts to meet with local leaders and formulate plans for future growth. Walker has plans to embark on a “Listening Tour” in which she will listen to the stories of local community members and stakeholders and learn how the mission of the library and the community intertwine.
The Salina Public Library’s mission is “Connecting people to information, learning, and culture”. “Regardless of age, background or circumstances, everyone has access to the knowledge and resources they need to thrive. SPL offers education, entertainment, innovation and so much more to empower the community,” explained Walker. To uphold and further their mission, fundraising is necessary. “Donations give us the freedom to support special projects or allow us to campaign for larger projects that public funds cannot fully fund. We are planning to embark on exciting new chapters, but we can’t write them alone, we need the community’s support,” said Walker.
When asked what the community can do to help, Walker gave the following three suggestions:
- Champion the library. Use your voice to advocate for us – spread the word and let the community know what you love about the library and the value you see in our services. By amplifying our message you are creating awareness and helping us reach a wider audience to attract more supporters.
- Open doors for us by facilitating introductions and connections. If you have friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, or others that might be valuable to our success, share their names and connect with us.
- Make a donation. While not everyone may be able to contribute financially, gifts of any size have a lasting impact and are an incredibly valuable way to support our mission. Through our secure online donation portal, you can choose to give a one-time donation or set up recurring support or you can give through mail by sending cash or check to the library. Donations are put towards enhancing the collection, expanding technology, improving facilities, supporting programs, outreach and community engagement, and other special projects.
Because of the support from the community both past and present, the library has seen great success and growth. “On behalf of the Salina Public Library, I want to thank everyone who has donated, including our patrons who donate their time to volunteer,” said Walker.
Walker continues to grow her roots in Salina alongside her husband Seth, two cats, Ivan and Odin, and two dogs, Froya and Oskar. She invites community members to reach out with questions or to make a community connection at [email protected] or 785-833-9211. Learn more at salinapubliclibrary.org/donate.