Last night, while I was enjoying myself at a City Council meeting, my wife saw a car pull into our driveway. A gentleman got out, using a crutch, climbed our porch and knocked on our door. When my wife answered, he asked if this were the home of the Terry Dawson who donated the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction to the public library.
She said that yes, I was the one who donated it. He told her that he had been out of work and laid up for some time. During that time, he appreciated using more of the library's materials, and in particular the F&SF magazines. He said that he hoped I would continue the donation -- which I've been doing for years.
My wife said that I would very probably continue the donation; he said he would like to ensure it and handed her a folded twenty dollar bill. She said that this was not needed, that I was the library director; he said that it was even better then that I was donating, and he wanted to help. Then he left.
After he was gone, she looked more closely and found that it was in fact five twenties that he had given her: $100 cash.
When I got home from the City Council, more than a little tired from the budget wars, she shared the story of what had happened. Of course, this made my day. We'll give the $100 to the library's materials budget. The library buy some extra fantasy and science fiction titles, thanks to this generous library user who wanted to show his appreciation and make sure we keep getting the magazine. And I'll definitely keep donating F&SF.
While we know many people appreciate what they get from the library, we don't always know who, why or how much. But every now and then, there's a pleasant surprise that helps us remember why we do this.