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Public libraries came into being to allow people to read and learn freely, even if they couldn't afford to buy books. Recently, though, New York Public Library has begun asking the public to contribute small amounts to the library's book fund--and patrons have readily agreed.
The Take Out Give Back fundraising effort went into operation as the second phase of the library's three-year emergency campaign to meet an $18-million revenue shortfall (AL, Sept. 2003, p. 18-19). Ads promoting the campaign appeared in the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, and on TV and radio. The first ads informed readers that "with just $17, you can help us buy one book."