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Help the Library Serve
Patrons During COVID-19

Dear Friends,

Madison Public Library is providing critical services in the midst of public health orders and serious concern about COVID-19 in our world. Madison Public Library Foundation’s job is to support library services, collections, programs and facilities, so we are asking you to help with a gift to our annual fund today.

When the library had to suddenly close its doors on March 17, its staff nimbly adapted to provide new services for our community. These include: 

  • dramatically expanding online collections — eBooks, audiobooks, newspapers, magazines and children’s materials — purchased with more than $150,000 from Madison Public Library Foundation donors. Thousands of new eBook and audiobook titles were added to the digital collection. If you haven’t checked out an eBook or audiobook yet, I hope you’ll give it a try. Watch a video that demonstrates how to get the Libby app on your phone so you can download these items and place holds.
  • implementing curbside pickup and returns for library materials at all nine libraries.
  • setting up a centralized telephone reference line, available by calling 608.315.5151. It’s staffed from 11 a.m.–7 p.m. every day.
  • library staffing of a Madison Internet Access Information line to help city agencies and the Madison Metropolitan School District connect people with free or low-cost internet service.
  • providing voting assistance by accepting absentee ballots in library drop boxes, the libraries serving as polling places, and staff assisting the City Clerk’s Office with absentee ballot processing.
  • bringing Wi-Fi to Madison’s north and south sides by parking the Dream Bus at Lake View Elementary in the mornings and Allied Drive Learning Center in the afternoons. The Dream Bus’s Wi-Fi range extends 50 feet. MMSD has publicized its availability to families who may need it. 

 

  • initiating virtual programming, including storytimes and yoga for kids, as well as weekly Wisconsin Book Festival author conversations. (Visit wisconsinbookfestival.org for upcoming free events.)
  • offering Bubbler resources that connect Madison residents with artistic endeavors, and new oral history and arts projects to capture life during the pandemic. Visit madisonpubliclibrary.org for details.

To provide new curbside service, the library purchased personal protective gear for staff, and our foundation worked with Kwik Trip to receive donated bags to hold materials. Library leadership is planning now so that when the time comes, it’s ready for a safe reopening of its nine locations. Staff are also helping many folks out of work who need help obtaining unemployment benefits, health insurance and other social services with computer appointments at select libraries. Our foundation is raising unrestricted funds so the library can provide daily services that meet residents’ needs amid a $30 million city budget shortfall and hiring freeze.

The foundation is altering its fundraising events: Lunch for Libraries, which supports the Wisconsin Book Festival and library services; and Ex Libris, which provides unrestricted library support. Lunch for Libraries was a virtual fundraiser on June 18, with author and journalist Mark Bittman presenting How to Eat: All Your Food and Diet Questions Answered. Guests enjoyed lunch at home while watching the live conversation online and receiving a copy of the book in the mail.  Plans for a new version of Ex Libris, which will celebrate its 10th year, are also in the works.

We hope you and your family are safe and healthy. The library and foundation are here for you now, and will be here for you in the future.

It’s an extraordinary time, so thank you for considering a gift to Madison Public Library Foundation.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Jeffress
Executive Director

P.S.: By making a monthly donation, you can provide critical ongoing support for our libraries. Sign up to become a Sustainer online or by calling 608.266.6318.