As part of the last leg of its fundraising campaign, the Madison Public Library Foundation said Tuesday it will match dollar to dollar up to $250,000 any donations it receives by the end of this year for the new Central Madison Public Library.
Executive Director of the Madison Public Library Foundation Jenni Collins said the Madison Public Library Board of Directors developed the donation matching campaign in hopes of encouraging further private donations from community members by Dec. 31.
“This is a board-designated challenge,” Collins said. “So the board as a foundation decided to put forth these funds to spur on more private giving by years end.”
The Madison Public Library Foundation committed $9 million to the project and the new matching program is designed to help them fulfill that goal, according to a City of Madison statement.
The new central library is the foundation’s capital project this year, Collins said. She said every year the foundation provides a wide variety of grants back to the libraries to support their efforts and improve their collections, help them purchase e-books and aid professional development for librarians.
Collins said the development of Central Library was critical because Madison needed a 21st century library downtown to serve as the city’s flagship library. The old downtown library was out of date in a number of ways, both structurally and technologically, she said.
Since the new Central Public Library opened on Sept. 21, Collins said the library has already seen significant use by the general public, as well as the student community.
Rebekah Willett, School of Library and Information Studies assistant professor, said having Central Madison Public Library so close to campus is a huge benefit to students.
“We are very excited to have a 21st century library just down the street from us,” Willett said. “The library is engaging with the public in new and innovative ways.”
Central Library serves as an additional student facility that can parallel the resources provided to students at University of Wisconsin libraries, including private study rooms and access to research databases, Collins said.
Collins said the library also draws students through its cheap entertainment in the way of art galleries and free movie nights.
“We are really ramping up program offerings that might appeal to students,” Collins said. “We have a bubbler program where artists, residents and other ‘makers’ occupy a space, and where people can participate in art making.”
Willett added practicum students and volunteer students from the university are already working in the new library from the School of Library and Information Services. Willet said the volunteer students are working on the bubbler program.
The Madison Public Library Board of Directors must complete the donation matching fundraiser by the end of the year because the board has committed the grant money to the city and to the new library in particular, Collins said.