Nancy McGill fully understands the value that libraries bring to people’s lives. For many years, she was a librarian in specialty libraries, with a subsequent career in nonprofit fundraising that included volunteer work for library fundraising.

“After I retired from my first career as a special librarian and my second career as a nonprofit fundraiser, I volunteered to help Madison Public Library Foundation with fundraising — a merging of both interests,” says McGill, who lives in the town of Middleton and has relied on Madison Public Library’s collections for more than 40 years.

In the late 1990s she served on the Alicia Ashman Library capital campaign committee, the first capital campaign the foundation led to build a new branch. As her commitment to the foundation and the library deepened, so did her desire for a meaningful way to support it.

“Every time I walk into a public library, I feel good,” she says. “I love being surrounded by books, periodicals and other materials. Because I love Madison Public Library, I wanted to do my part to help it continue to flourish in the future.”

McGill decided to leave a gift to the library’s endowment fund upon her death to enhance library services in perpetuity. “The concept of a legacy gift living on for a long, long time appeals to me,” she says.

The extent of Madison Public Library’s collection adds great depth to the resources available to Dane County library users, McGill says. “I don’t live in Madison, but I have free access to Madison Public Library,” she says. “That is wonderful.”

Although the library has evolved into a community center of sorts, its traditional roles are what matter most to McGill. “I still love to hold a printed book in my hands,” she says, explaining that she often places holds on books through the South Central Library System’s interlibrary loan. She also believes that free access to the uncensored information provided by libraries is an important component in a civil society.

The growth of Madison Public Library Foundation over the last 24 years impresses McGill, she says. “It says a lot about the literate values held by area residents, which makes me proud to live here,” she says. “It also says a lot about the hard work done every day by foundation board members, other volunteers and paid staff.”

McGill encourages everyone who uses and appreciates the library to make a donation or get involved to help it thrive.

“Taxes are not enough to fund all that the library can and does do,” she says. “People who value libraries need to support them.”