As director of communications for the Enoch Pratt Free Libraries, Encina faces one question over and over again: What is the future of the library?
"We try to think outside the box and adapt to changes. We decided we're not going to shy away from what's happening in the electronic age," he said.
The library's e-book borrowing program was incredibly popular with patrons who already owned e-readers. So the Pratt wanted to take it to the next level — lending the e-readers themselves to patrons. The Herring Run and Reisterstown Road branches already lend Nooks to patrons, but with more than 60 people on the waiting list, the library wanted to expand the program. With a partnership from Barnes & Noble, the library is able to buy Nooks pre-loaded with bestsellers for $177. Total raised so far: $945.
The e-readers are popular with young technophiles, but they've developed an unexpected following among the library's older patrons, who can view more books in large print without the hassle of hauling around a heavy dead-tree tome.
"We're hoping that some day, all the branches are offering these things and we're hoping we'll have docking stations and down load the books here," said Encina. "That's a long-term goal."
Providing Hope Through Meals
Sponsor: Moveable Feast (mfeast.org)
The Goods: 777 meals for low-income people with critical illnesses
The Goal: $1,400
Average gift so far: $45
Moveable Feast, an organization that provides house-bound Marylanders with food and nutrition counseling, tried GiveCorps for the first time on Oct. 19. It set a goal of raising $1,000, enough to buy 555 meals for clients.
"There was an overwhelming response. We were glued to our computer screen, refreshing the page and watching the number go up," said Hanna Mast, 24, a development associate. "We really wanted to engage the $25 philanthropist."
Moveable Feast hit its first goal in a day. One of those Oct. 19 donors was Encina, who has an interest in hunger and poverty issues.
"There was a big push leading up to Thanksgiving, and I like it on a personal level, where I can browse these projects I had no idea even existed," said Encina.
For the holiday season, Moveable Feast is upping the ante to $1,400, or 777 meals. And it is already close, again. As of Tuesday, it has raised $1,210.