Ann and Joe Sexton decided to do something different for their birthdays this year. The Stamford couple’s birthdays are so close together on the calendar that they mark both during one celebration. They usually go out to dinner and see a show. This year, because of the economy, they held a birthday party and asked for money.

But the money wasn’t for them. It was for Ferguson Library.

“We sent out the invitations,” said Ann. “At the end we said no gifts, please. But if you want to do something for the library … please make a donation.”

The 44 guests the couple invited collectively donated $1,025 to the library. Proceeds will go toward purchasing books for Ferguson.

“I just thought this would be a fun thing to do. I didn’t have any idea it would be so successful,” said Ann. “The dire need of the library is funds. Hopefully others will hold a fundraising party.”

The library’s been strapped for revenue after receiving $1.2 million less than hoped for in city funding for the current fiscal year. To make do, the library has reduced hours, sought and received staff concessions and solicited corporate patrons in order to maintain services on Sundays, among other solutions.

Ann, a retired school librarian, and Joe, a retired Exxon Mobil executive, got the idea to make their birthday party a fundraiser after reading a story in The Daily Stamford about a group of Stamford High School teachers. The teachers took it upon themselves to aid the library with a collection. They raised $1,200.

“Trying to raise money for the library is really the key,” said Ann, a member and past president of Friends of the Ferguson Library. “Every little bit helps.”

Are you a frequent patron of Ferguson free public library? Do you think you might look for a way to raise money for the library as a way of giving back?