The Ruby R. Vale Foundation, one of Milford’s oldest charitable groups, announced Monday morning that it has given $250,000 to the Milford Public Library, bringing private fund-raising for the library’s proposed expansion very close to its $1.75 million goal.


The Ruby R. Vale Foundation, one of Milford’s oldest charitable groups, announced Monday morning that it has given $250,000 to the Milford Public Library, bringing private fund-raising for the library’s proposed expansion very close to its $1.75 million goal.

“The whole last year has been unbelievable,” Library Director Kay Hudson said.

“To be a part of this, to have the people that we’ve had gather around us, has been phenomenal. I can’t thank everyone enough for the support that they’ve given us.”

The Vale foundation had agreed months ago to contribute to the library, but only if it could get a donation of equal or greater value from the Longwood Foundation, a statewide charitable group originally established by the duPont family.

Last month, when Longwood announced a donation of $400,000 – along with $100,000 from the Wilmington-based Welfare Foundation – Hudson knew that would trigger the Vale foundation’s donation, bringing the total for the year to well over $1 million in private donations.

“It’s been a phenomenal year,” she said. I can’t thank the people of this community enough for standing by the library and showing what it means to them, because it has meant so much to all of us here.”

The one large contribution the library is still waiting for is the rest of the state government’s share. Milford got $1 million in the state bond bill that passed last year, and expects another $750,000 this year.

“We’re very, very close,” Hudson said.

Hudson said she won’t know exactly how much more the library needs to raise until bidding begins for the construction contracts, since the exact cost to build will change depending on the exact cost of labor and materials.

She added that she is particularly happy that donations haven’t fallen off since the economic downturn began.

“At these times, this is where the library can be most important to people, because this is where they can get entertainment and Internet,” she said.

The Ruby R. Vale Foundation was one of the groups that contributed to the effort to build the current Milford Public Library, more than a decade ago. It was named for one of Milford’s best-known citizens, Ruby Vale, who, with his wife Elizabeth, donated the land where City Hall now stands.

“The Ruby Vale fund is very important to Milford,” Hudson said. “The entrance (of the new addition) is going to be named for them, and we’re going to print up a booklet about the contributions they’ve made. They have been integral to so much here.”

The library broke ground for its expansion in November, with construction scheduled to start this winter. The library will remain open for business while work progresses. For more information or to donate, call 422-8996 or visit www.milfordpubliclibrary.org/building.htm.