Last week, in the midst of all the chaos and immediate practical concerns, I stopped down at the Friends office to ask about the possiblities for memorial donations. Doing something for the library -- where he pretty much lived when he wasn't at home -- seemed the right sort of thing. The Friends were grateful. They accept donations through PayPal, as well as by mail or phone. When I told them who exactly Mike was and why the library mattered so much to him, they suggested starting a special named memorial endowment fund to purchase books.
The Friends Book Endowments are set up to be interest-generating funds rather than one-time piles of money that are spent down to zero and then gone. An endowment fund lives on and yields money for new books every year. Linda K. Merritt at the Friends office told me how it works:
For every $500 dollars deposited in the endowment funds, the Friends purchase a book for the library system annually with the interest earned on the endowment. This really is the gift that keeps on giving. You can specify what genre or library location/branch the books are intended for. Some people just specify “where most needed”. We prepare bookplates and have them inserted in each book before they are shelved. Patrons will see Mike’s name each time the book is opened! I think it is important for people to know that these funds are ‘permanently restricted’ to the annual purchase of books. The money will never be diverted to other use.
They said they'd have a special PayPal button built for it by Monday. What they didn't tell me was that they are putting it up on their homepage. So there it is. It made me cry happy to see it. I know Mike would be glad of it. (And yes, they have been informed about the typo.