Library Director Wendy Wendt stated that’s almost 1 / 4 of the library’s $2.eight million finances, making the present one thing like profitable a lottery employees didn’t know they’d entered. The donor, Joe Neel Jr., has introduced one thing of a thriller, as Wendt stated he doesn’t seem to have had a library card and is unknown to library employees.
“I do know different libraries get left issues they usually know the individuals, they usually’re capable of inform tales. … We don’t have any of that background,” Wendt stated. “It actually does really feel like a really miraculous type of factor.”
Herald archives present that Neel was the son of Joe Neel Sr., a nationally famend UND professor of biology who died in 1990. Neel Jr., gave the library a $50,000 present in 1998 in remembrance of his father, and a Herald article from that point described him as a bachelor working a Civil Service place at Grand Forks Air Pressure Base. His demise discover says he died July 31 at age seventy two, with no funeral providers anticipated. It doesn’t point out if he had any dwelling kin.
Wendt stated the library first discovered of the present about one month in the past, however didn’t dare belief it was actual. Over the course of the library’s try and construct a brand new location, she stated she’d heard earlier than of the existence of rich donors, however they by no means materialized. She was excited to take a name from Edward Jones wealth advisers shortly afterwards, although.
“However we didn’t need to get our hopes up, so we didn’t actually consider it was actual till the checks arrived this week,” Wendt stated.
The present arrives as library leaders have begun shifting away from expectations that they’ll instantly pursue the development of a brand new library and extra in the direction of a perception they’ll stay of their getting old constructing — no less than for now, Library Board member Justin Berry stated current tasks embrace new boilers, sliding doorways, exterior lighting and a brand new roof.
The Library Board will take up dialogue of the present at its December assembly, Berry stated, and speculated that it could be spent on new carpet or furnishings — a visual enchancment that patrons can take pleasure in. Wendt stated it’s unclear what the present can be used for, however it gained’t be working prices.
“It seems like he was a really personal individual, and now’s going to have an effect on the group in a really useful means,” she stated. “I simply assume that’s very beneficiant, and I want I might thank him.”