March 19, 2020
The City of Madison, Madison Public Library and Madison Public Library Foundation are managing under new operations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. On March 17, the libraries closed to remove the potential for spreading the virus. Foundation staff are telecommuting, and we’re thankful that we have technology that allows us to do this.
Normally, we start our annual fund drive in April, but the current situation is so unusual that we’ve shifted our focus. We’re reaching out with an urgent request for a gift to support the library’s digital collections and virtual content.
The library provides a variety of online collections — eBooks and audiobooks, magazines, newspapers, databases and stock information — accessible 24/7 with a library card. Anyone can download the Libby app to bring eBooks to their phone, tablet or computer. These are free resources that Madison residents can use now to learn, be entertained and to pass time during this pandemic.
Here is the challenge ahead: The library has few dollars to invest in digital collections, as the budget is very tight. That means many Madisonians will put digital materials on hold, then have to patiently wait until they are available. We’re hoping to grant $140,000 to the library to purchase audiobooks, eBooks, magazines and newspapers for Madison patrons, especially now that most residents are staying well by being in their homes.
Our foundation just committed an emergency gift from a reserve fund of $50,000 to add eBooks and audiobooks to expand the collection. The demand is so high that we wish to add another $90,000 to that fund as soon as possible.
In this trying time, some of our loyal donors have stepped up to offer matching gifts. We’re incredibly grateful to David Hall & Margie Devereaux, Lau and Bea Christensen, and our foundation’s Board of Directors for a combined pledge of $45,000. For each new dollar you give to the digital collection, these donors will match it up to $45,000.
Your contribution allows us to help the library expand its digital collections immediately and reduce wait times for popular books. Collections Manager Molly Warren said the library could immediately buy 1,000 new titles, including:
Audio – Talking to Strangers (Gladwell), American Dirt (Cummins), The Splendid and the Vile (Larson), Golden in Death (Robb), The Body (Bryson) and additional copies of Harry Potter series audiobooks
eBooks – The Splendid and the Vile; Red, White and Royal Blue (McQuieston); Normal People (Rooney); Say Nothing (Keefe); and Nothing to See Here (Wilson)
Library staff are also exploring their ability to offer alternative forms of some services, including reference help by phone or email; an online library card application; video programming; and Bubbler-led art projects to do at home.
Please give today to support the library in providing collections and virtual content to children and adults in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Include your email and phone number with your gift so we can communicate with you and thank you, as well as keep you up to date on library operations, digital services information and other efforts we’re supporting in the coming weeks.
We wish you wellness and comfort as we work together to protect our community from coronavirus, and weather its accompanying effects.
Executive Director, Madison Public Library Foundation
P.S. Although the libraries are closed, and library and foundation events and programs are canceled for the foreseeable future, foundation staff can still receive your emails and phone messages. Email email@example.com or call 608.266.6318.
P.S.S. You can sign up for the library’s email list, too, at madisonpubliclibrary.org/insider to receive alerts as more digital collections and become available.