FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2012
Contact: Robin Reid, Communications Director
Madison Community Foundation
608-232-1763 or [email protected]
Madison, WI: Dane County Library Service and Madison Community Foundation have embarked on a unique partnership to build a $1.4 million public library programming endowment – the first of its kind in the nation. Called the Beyond the Page Fund, this permanent endowment will provide county-wide, collaborative, cost-free programming for Dane County residents of all ages, in perpetuity. Fund goals are to:
Expand programming audiences, content, impact, quality and promotion
Double the amount of annual programming funds available to libraries
Create an ongoing revenue stream for libraries not constrained by municipal funding and budget battles
Promote cross-library collaboration and planning
Serve every community in Dane County for generations to come
The free humanities programming supported by the Beyond the Page fund will serve the communities of all 27 of the county’s libraries and the Dane County Bookmobile, which serves an additional 16 locations. “Dane County’s librarians are wonderful to work with: organized, flexible, dedicated, and they always follow through,” says Dena Worzel, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Humanities Council. “In their hands, the programming made possible by the Beyond the Page endowment will thrive.”
Launching the Public Campaign: The public phase of this unique campaign is being launched to coincide with National Library Week (April 9-14, 2012). For the next year the libraries will be celebrating the humanities through displays, events and programming. The libraries currently offer 6,000 programs a year, reaching an audience of 200,000 people. 90% of all current programming is for children. The endowment fund is intended strengthen and grow this free programming, build on the libraries’ position as a key community asset. This is the first time that all of the county’s libraries have worked together on a countywide campaign – a national model of forward thinking, collaboration and efficiency. Margaret George, author of six NY Times bestsellers, raves about the campaign: “Libraries are the backbone of our community! They give our minds a home and educate us with special programs. Hooray for libraries!”
A Prestigious National Grant: The campaign has secured a prestigious $350,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to create the Beyond the Page programming endowment. The libraries have three years to raise a 3:1 match, or $1,050,000, to reach a minimum $1.4 million goal. The partners have already raised $640,000 towards the match, as part of the silent phase of the campaign. Madison Community Foundation has led the major gift portion of the campaign and provided the libraries with promotional materials and technical expertise. As part of the campaign, each of the 27 libraries’ friends groups has committed to raising $10,000 during next year’s public phase. The partners hope to complete a successful campaign by National Library Week of 2013.
A Rich Variety of Humanities Programming: “The Humanities enrich our understanding and appreciation for all things human,” says Julie Ann Chase, Director of the Dane County Library Service. “Of the three million items in the Dane County Libraries’ collections, over a third represent the humanities, including the arts, language, history, literature, philosophy, world culture, religion, drama and other subjects. Annual funding will allow the libraries to dream up and plan new programs, and enrich and promote current offerings.” Each year the libraries will be able to provide author visits, exciting exhibitions, community outreach, summer enrichment programs, hands-on workshops, lecture series, interactive presentations and other lifelong learning opportunities for county residents of all ages.
“Dane County libraries are one of the best parts about living in the Madison area. I’d be thrilled to enjoy the thought provoking programs our excellent library leaders will create with a new endowment,” says Laura Schaefer, author of the novels Teashop Girls and The Secret Ingredient.
Dane County Libraries: A Rich History of Library Building, Resources and Programming
From the poem, “Welcome to Our Library,” by Fabu Carter: Walk thru the doors into bright magic/ Entering a library is escaping from plain and ordinary to explore the wonder of adventure. “From childhood to adulthood I have enjoyed libraries around the world. Libraries are where I get excited about learning about my own interests and at my own pace.” says former Madison Poet Laureate, Fabu, in support of the Beyond the Page endowment fund. The campaign builds upon an unprecedented decade of county library growth, in capital improvements (nine successful capital campaigns in the past decade) collections enrichment and programming.
“These wonderful libraries, particularly those in the smaller communities, have evolved to become the very heart of their communities,” says Kathleen Woit, President of the Madison Community Foundation. “More than just a trusted repository of content, they often serve as a gathering place, a community center, and a senior center. Libraries are critical community partners – quite simply, great libraries make great communities.” In the past decade the Madison Community Foundation has provided over $2 million in grant funding to county libraries for capital campaigns, collections development, and endowment. “In the face of the recent economic downturn, libraries are more vital than ever. This is why the Madison Community Foundation recently awarded $500,000 to the new Madison Central Library, and why we helped initiate the Beyond the Page campaign – by helping libraries thrive, we help communities thrive.”
For more information about the Beyond the Page Fund, visit: www.behondthepage.info
Madison Community Foundation encourages, facilitates and manages long-term philanthropy. It was established in 1942 as a tax-exempt community trust and is governed by a Board of Governors representing the broad interests of the community. www.madisoncommunityfoundation.org
Dane County Library Service: Through a variety of channels, the Dane County Library Service assures all Dane County residents free access to all public library services. www.dcls.info