Madison Public Library is accepting applications through October 1 for Library Takeover, a program created to support communities to make their ideas happen at the library. The hope is that by providing space, time and resources for community members to host their own events, the library is setting the stage for inclusive future programming that involves and represents all Madisonians.

Teams of three to four people can apply to participate in the program, which includes a four-session course on event planning and culminates in a finished and fully funded program at the library in spring 2022. The library will choose three teams to participate for 2021-22, and Madison Public Library Foundation will provide $2,000 for each team to use in planning its event. Each individual team member will also receive a $400 stipend, funded by the foundation, as well as a certificate of completion from the library. No previous event planning experience is necessary; all that’s needed is a great idea for community engagement!

“We are looking for events and ideas from community members who do not typically have access to resources for big community events — namely, people who are not connected to a nonprofit organization or formal institution, people of color, people that are LGBTQ, etc.,” said Community Engagement Librarian Kristina Gómez. “We want this to result in a variety of events that speak to different cross-sections of our community.”

Each team that is selected to create a program will be paired with a mentor from the community. This year’s mentors are Sarah Akawa, an advocate for queer nightlife and inclusive spaces; Rob Dz, a Madison-based Hip Hop artist and activist who is also Media Projects Bubblerarian at the library; and Rachel Werner, founder of The Little Book Project WI, a biannual community arts and nonprofit printmaking collaboration. Mentors help guide their team through the crash course on event planning, share their local contacts and connections, and lend their expertise to the process.

“Providing event funding, in addition to full support through the planning process, is what makes Madison Public Library’s takeover program such an innovative concept,” said Werner, an entrepreneur.

“It helps to raise awareness that libraries can be utilized as artistic, wellness and collaborative spaces. Community gatherings, celebrations and workshops become much more accessible once financial, physical and other barriers are removed.”

Library Takeover began in 2017 as a way to do community programming differently. The goal is to empower individuals who may not have a lot of event planning experience to bring their ideas for enriching their community to life.

Once teams are selected, group workshops will be hosted at Central Library on Tuesday nights in November and December. 

Visit to learn more or to submit an application.