Woman leaves hundreds of thousands to the library in her home town


MARION, IL — A woman is changing the lives of kids in your community through a special donation.

Mariella Aikman left more than $330,000 to the Marion Carnegie Library in Marion, Illinois. Aikman grew up in Marion. She died about a year ago at the age of 93 in Lansing, Michigan. Organizations special to her heart have recently been awarded funds from her trust.

Whether you’re going to the library to check out a book or enjoy the peace and quiet, it has something for everyone b– including Nancy Ralston and her daughter Trista, who has special needs.

“She’s really loved the library ever since she was little. It’s good she reads a whole lot. She’ll get books and write them out,” said Ralston.

Just like Trista, Aikman loved to visit the library when she was a child.

“While she lived here in her youth, she did come to the library. She graduated from Marion High School,” said Marion Carnegie Library coordinator of library services Sarah Watkins.

Aikman had a passion for children. In every children’s book, there’s a beginning, middle, and end. The same can be said about life. Thanks to her special donation, Aikman’s story will live on.

“With her gift that she gave, we ‘ll be able to do things for so many years down the line. She really set us up to have a position to memorialize her in a way that she wanted,” said Watkins.

The money will be used for updates and special projects for the department.

“Down the line, we’ll be able to establish more space, more room for activities. We’ll be able to do more elaborate programs,” said Watkins.

Ralston hopes those plans include the special needs community.

“Just to see more things for the special needs to have activities to do,” said Ralston.

They hope to announce more detailed plans early next year.

We were told she also gave funds to the Southern Illinois University Foundation and Marion High School. We do not yet have the dollar amount for those funds.