The Tompkins County Public Library will kick off its Annual Appeal campaign with “One Life, Many Chapters: Books that Influence and Inspire,” an event featuring local authors and participants at 1 p.m. Sunday in the library’s BorgWarner room.
Leslie Daniels, author of “Cleaning Nabokov’s House,” will attend the event.
“Books are hallmarks or gateways to certain new directions in peoples’ lives,” she said. “The occasion will be an opportunity to talk about that.”
Ithaca College President Tom Rochon and his wife, Amber, will also be present. The Rochons will serve as honorary Appeal chairpersons this year.
Library director Susan Currie said the library will hold a discussion about inspirational books.
“Having a discussion from the audience about what books have been important to them will be a celebration of the freedom to read,” she said.
The library will begin Freedom to Read Week, a national event dedicated to the pushing against censorship and celebrating the freedom of the press.
A reading by Khet Mar, a writer exiled from Burma, will be held Oct. 2 to conclude the week.
The library hopes to raise $65,000 during the campaign, part of its annual goal of $210,000.
Suzanne Smith Jablonski, executive director of the Library Foundation, said the money is crucial this year because of the county’s budget cuts.
“The primary source of funding for the library is Tompkins County,” she said. “Because of the challenges they’re experiencing and because of the economy, that’s had a trickle-down effect on the library. We’ve seen cuts that will continue into 2012.”
Daniels said the recent budget cuts could deal a heavy blow to the library’s progress.
“The services [libraries] provide are invaluable, and they don’t come free,” Daniels said. “Libraries are important in bridging the gap between people who have easy access to books, computers and the written word and people who don’t.”
Currie said the library has had more than 705,000 online connections so far this year, and the staff expects 1 million community connections online by the end of the year.
Jablonski said the library will focus on its devoted patrons for financial help during this year’s Annual Appeal campaign.
“We’ve seen considerable increases in library usage so we have to put a greater emphasis on increasing private contribution to fund the library’s work,” she said.
Daniels said she has high hopes for the community’s patronage.
“Ithaca is a very rich community in terms of literacy and valuing the importance of books, and I always hope for connections between the academic communities and the public. This event bridges that.”