July 9, 2023, will mark Madison Public Library Foundation’s 30th birthday! In 1993, a small but mighty group of library lovers started the foundation to steward library gifts in support of lifelong learning and free access to information.

We’re proud to share that since that time, the foundation has granted the library more than $20 million to make the patron experience available to everyone. This was possible because of YOU! Every gift reinforces our mission of mobilizing the Madison community to continuously promote, support, and improve the library.

Over the years, your dollars have supported many monumental projects and resources, including:

  • six new Madison Public Library facilities — Alicia Ashman, Sequoya, Goodman South Madison, Central, Meadowridge, and Pinney — as well as improvements and furnishings for Monroe Street, Lakeview, and Hawthorne libraries
  • thousands of books, magazines, newspapers, music, movies, and other collection items
  • computers, tablets, and technology infrastructure
  • staff development and training
  • programming — in fact, the foundation funds 50 percent of all library programs
  • experiences — for instance, the Wisconsin Book Festival, which will surpass 1,000 author events later this year! 

We also advocate for equity and access. Every Madisonian deserves to have the ability to check out books, use a computer, learn new art skills, listen to music, or watch videos on Kanopy, a great streaming service we fund. And in today’s age, there are many new and nontraditional items to borrow from the library, from birding backpacks to disc golf equipment. You You can even find library events outside our physical spaces: Go to madpl.org to discover outreach events this summer that bring the library into many local communities.

You’re invited to celebrate with us in all nine Madison Public Library locations from 2–5 p.m. Tuesday, July 11. We’ll treat you to cookies; commemorative bookmarks; the chance to chat with staff, board members, and volunteers; and the opportunity to share what you love about your favorite neighborhood library!

We’ll also be writing about our organization’s history and plans for the future in our monthly e-news and our fall and winter print newsletters, as well as on social media this year, so be sure to follow Madison Public Library Foundation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 

Visit our 30th birthday event page to learn more about our milestone year.

Back In 1993 …

Top 5 Fiction Books

  1. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  2. Along Came a Spider (Alex Cross #1) by James Patterson
  3. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  4. The Client by John Grisham
  5. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

Top 5 Nonfiction Books

  1. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud
  2. A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by Karen Armstrong
  3. Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield
  4. The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley
  5. Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Robert D. Hare

Notable Events

  • January 20: Bill Clinton is sworn in as the 42nd president of the United States
  • April 30: World Wide Web launches in the public domain
  • August 10: Ruth Bader Ginsberg assumes position on the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Toni Morrison is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature


  • About 23% of households had computers, compared to more than 97% today