What we are sure of is that libraries are creating access to materials and programs when our community needs them the most. Providing books for work or leisure. Offering movies for rainy days. Scheduling appointments for computers and printing. Organizing delivery of collection items to 32 retirement centers. Answering the reference line for question seekers. Madison Public Library is here now, and will be here during the pandemic and after as a public resource and community connector for all.
With an annual fund gift, you can help to support all that we can do now and will be able to do in 2021. Your gift is essential to our libraries by funding fundamental services, including collections, new technology and training for staff. Can you make a gift now to lend your help?
One way we’re creating access is through digital collections and curbside pickup. We are averaging 12,070 eBook/audiobook checkouts per week since the library closed in March, and donor funds were used to purchase hundreds of new titles for teens and children for recreational and school reading. In addition, library staff deliver 10,000 bags of books and movies to patrons curbside each month!
Our users say about curbside pickup:
- “Love it and have loved the CSA-style program for my 3-year-old! We have so much fun on book pickup day!”
- “I usually request Goodman South, for it is just across the street where I reside. Thank you for this amazing service.”
Another way the library has been helping with access to services is through phone reference and email service. In August, the reference line had 8,500 calls! Michael Spelman, Supervising Librarian for Central Library, shared some of the questions staff receive:
- “Can I check out a telescope?”
- “Can you send me a copy of a poem that was read at my wedding?”
- “Can you get me a list of all the McNabbs in Wisconsin and Chicago from the phone books?”
Staff also field questions about voting locations, housing issues, credit card debt, support for OverDrive and the Libby app, and how to put a book on hold, among many more things. Library staff are providing access to information by answering questions for our residents every day.
Access through technology is another key goal as we work to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Eight libraries provide access to public computers and printers by appointment. The library is piloting wireless printing so that you can print from your home or mobile device and pick up printed items at your local library. Madison Public Library staff also provide internet support for residents struggling with Wi-Fi connectivity issues at home. And the Dream Bus, our bookmobile visiting neighborhoods all over Madison, provides Wi-Fi from the bus for area residents. A patron said, “This is the only place that’s open for appointments on Saturdays. It’s nice to talk to a human.”
The Madison Public Library Board and staff place equity and access as two of their highest priorities, and as a result, the library has become fine free.
“For over a year, the Library Board discussed data that conveyed how communities of color are negatively affected by our fine system more than others. The Library Board felt strongly that change was necessary, and becoming fine free was the equitable decision to make.”
— Jaime Healy-Plotkin, President, Madison Public Library Board
When you give to Madison Public Library Foundation, you’re supporting access to books, music, computers and information for our Madison residents. The library is providing a way for humanity to exist during this pandemic. Please consider making a generous gift to the foundation today.
P.S.: Now is a great time to become a monthly donor! Click below to make a monthly gift via your credit card or checking account. Monthly donors help the library with long-term, sustainable support.