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From the Ground Up -- Spring 2020

2020 Cornerstone Award & Reception Cancelled

Deming honored at 2019 Cornerstone Reception

Bruce Deming’s career in the library furniture business began innocently as a college business major when he took a summer job in a furniture manufacturing plant. After a subsequent position in sales serving Wisconsin and its public libraries, Deming made the life choice to start his business here instead of Illinois or Michigan.

He came full circle in 2019 when he retired and closed the doors on Embury Ltd.

In recognition of his efforts to serve libraries with quality furniture and shelving, and his support of libraries through regular participation at Wisconsin’s Library Legislative Day, Bruce Deming received the South Central Library System Foundation’s 2019 Cornerstone Award.

“If I had thought then that I could run the company for 30 years, I would have been shocked,” Bruce said. “It has been a good run and I have enjoyed what I have been doing.” He said working with and serving libraries has been very enjoyable. “They are pleasant, logical people who ask good questions, respect professionalism, and pay their bills on time,” Bruce said of libraries.

The company’s market is public libraries and academic libraries. They work primarily in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, the Dakotas, Iowa, and Michigan.

“I’ve always tried to be very honest with people,” Bruce said. “My job has not been so much about sales as it is about solving problems. You need to provide good information so libraries can reach realistic decisions about needs.” 

One of the ways Bruce chose to support libraries was by attending Wisconsin’s Library Legislative Day. “I really wanted to support the industry I was in,” Bruce said. “I wanted to try and give legislators another perspective—from the role of vendors—about the important role libraries play in our communities.”

Bruce said participation in Legislative day really opened his eyes to the pressures under which libraries operate, and he learned a great deal more about what libraries do to serve communities. He said there is no question that libraries continue to be relevant today.

 “The usage of libraries is still there,” Bruce said. “Carnegie’s vision of the need for libraries is still as important as it was all those years ago. We see that every day in every community we serve.”

Help us reduce newsletter costs

The SCLS Foundation Board wants to communicate news to donors and member libraries, and we are looking for ways to do that more effectively and efficiently.

The existing print newsletter is only produced twice each year, which imposes severe limitations on our ability to communicate in a timely way. Our goal is to move to an online format that will eliminate printing and postage costs, and allow for more timely communication.

In order to do make that a successful transition, we need the email addresses of donors so we can send notices of new content. If you believe in the important role public libraries play in communities, and you want to hear more about what the foundation is doing to support libraries, please complete the online form at

We will never share your email with any other organization, and we will only use it to share news about the SCLS Foundation.

Libraries honored at Cornerstone Reception

The 2019 SCLS Foundation library award recipients are listed below. More details and photos are available on the Foundation website at at

Super Awesome Library Award: Monticello Public Library—The “Super Awesome Library Award” is ”For the library that was overall awesome in 2019...” 

The year was one of change for Monticello Public Library, including reorganizing the picture book collection by genre to help young and old readers find their next adventure.

They also remodeled the circulation and juvenile nonfiction areas which provided more space for the children’s section.

Monticello ran a mobile library spot next to the grocery store during the summer to check out materials to patrons and promote library resources, and they also partnered with the school district to offer a summer class at the library, while also providing supportive services to teachers.

That change intensified in December when the library joined other South Central Library System libraries in the LINKcat online catalog.

In 2019 Monticello also joined the SCLS Foundation in a strong step toward better financial stewardship of funds donated to the library.

Program Wizard Award: Lester Public Library of Rome—Harkening back in history to the iconic American drive-in movie, Lester Public Library of Rome involved children in a project that required creativity, individuality, and a lot of fun. For its efforts to create a “Drive-In Movie Day” for children, the Lester Public Library of Rome is the recipient of the 2019 “Program Wizard Award.” The staff held a special week for the children in the Rome area,” said Director Renee Daley. “First they collected large boxes, plastic plates and disks, and decorating items like paint and glitter. Then they announced a special Drive-In Movie Day, and children were invited to the library anytime during the week before the event to select a box to design and decorate like a car.”

The movie “Wonder Park” was shown on the big screen while children sat in their cars and munched on popcorn and candy.

Giddy Up Partner Award: E.D. Locke Public Library, McFarland—Partnering with community organizations and agencies is common practice for public libraries.

E.D. Lock Public Library and the McFarland Optimist Club have collaborated for two years to sponsor the annual Bike Rodeo. The event brought over 175 kids and families to the library on a sunny May Saturday morning for free bike helmets, donuts with the local police department and a chance to win a free bike to take home.

Library Director Heidi Cox said this partnership helps highlight the services and resources of the library, while at the same time making available to the community the expertise and resources of the McFarland Optimist Club.“It’s a win-win for both of us,” Cox said.

Foundation fund performance

As of Jan. 10, 2020, the fund balance was $2,761,199. The gross return since inception on Dec. 1, 2012, is 8.57%.

For more information about investing with the Foundation, please contact Martha Van Pelt, SCLS Director, at (608) 246-7975 or mvanpelt [at]

Welcome Charles & Joann Lester Library (Nekoosa), Friends of LaValle Public Library, and Pittsville Publiv Library to the South Central Library System Foundation!

In memory of...

In the last issue of the SCLS Foundation Newsletter, we forgot to acknowledge donations that were made in memory of Kathryn Trudell. We apologize for the oversight.

Those donations were:

  • Dorothy Davenport $25
  • Phyllis Davis $500
  • Electrical Consultants Inc. $500
  • Kristin Groth & Ed Jepsen $100
  • Claire Rynders $100

Foundation Contributors

These people have donated to the SCLS Foundation since Aug. 1, 2019. The category in which each is listed represents their total Foundation contribution to date.

  • Legacy – $10,000+
    Phyllis Davis
    Denise Marino & Herb Paaren
  • Benefactor – $9,999 - $5,000
    Delta Properties
    Peter & Ann Hamon
    Stanley Talarek
  • Stewards – $4,999 - $1,000
    Bob Blitzke & Jane Grogan
    Lauren Blough
    Robert Cohen
    Mike Furgal
    Larry Martin & Martha Cranley
    Jane Morgan Memorial Library
    Janet & Tom Pugh
    Claire Rynders
    Martha Van Pelt
  • Advocates – $999 - $500
    Chase Lumber
    Kathryn Curtis
    Mary Davidson
    Jaime Healy-Plotkin
    Mark & Rebecca Ibach
    Kathleen & Clement Imhoff
    Anne Iwata
    Nancy Long
    Mark Miller
    Dave Odahl
    Gary Poulson
    Brinnan Shaffer
    Summit Credit Union
  • Patron – $499 - $250
    Andy’s Heating & Cooling
    Embury Ltd.
    Oriental Shop
    Kristi Williams
  • Friends – $249 - $100
    Hegg Accounting
    Terrance & Lindsay Hyland
    Thomas & Susan Jenks
    Mary Nelson
    Brigitte Vacha
    Theresa Walske
  • Supporter – $50 - $99
    Nancy Foth
    Jenny Lief
    Mandy Meloy
  • Sponsors – $49 - $1
    Gregory & Diane Knapp
    Gene & Susan Qualmann

PayPal makes contributions simple

The SCLS Foundation has an account with PayPal that is accessible from the SCLS Foundation webpage at This allows account holders’ donors to use the Foundation’s PayPal account to submit on-line donations via PayPal or with a credit card.

Only SCLS Foundation account holders are eligible to receive funds through the service, and they are listed on the SCLS Foundation web page under the “Giving” tab.

PayPal does charge a fee for this service. The fees for any donations are 2.9% + $.30 per transaction. This results in the account holder (library) receiving less than the intended amount. For example if a donor gives $50.00, the designated account holder (library) would only receive $48.25. When writing acknowledgments and thank you notes to the donors, account holders should refer to the $50.00 gift.

We have added a note to the Foundation webpage to let donors know of the fees.

Libraries are community hubs across the system

by Theresa Walske, President
SCLS Foundation Board

I love to talk about libraries. 

In February I participated in Wisconsin Library Legislative Day, a day to meet our elected officials and talk about the importance of libraries to our communities.  I have to admit, in the end I did more listening than talking. Librarians from SCLS shared how their library was the hub of the community, a space for knowledge and learning, a space to gather and build friendships, a space to discuss big ideas and percolate some new, a space of consistent internet, a safe space, and a space of shelter. Librarians and board members from libraries shared programs provided and initiatives started. The SCLS staff shared the wonderful work being done such as the digitization project and Workforce Development partnerships to help patrons find employment. 

The goal of the Foundation is to raise funds for public libraries through our SCLS Community and to help money grow to support these libraries. My day at the Capitol allowed me to listen and reflect on the important work of libraries and the continued need to financially support libraries.  I encourage you to reflect, what has your library meant to you and your community? I invite you to donate to the SCLS Foundation. This can be done online from the Foundation website or through the mail.

As the new president of the SCLS Foundation, I want to say thank you to all the librarians, library board members, volunteers, and SLSC professionals who make a difference every day as you serve our patrons and communities.  You make a difference.

I’d also like to take a moment and encourage all of our active and past donors to consider providing their email address so we can continue to update you about the Foundation.

Because printing and mailing costs have increased, we’d like to share news through an online newsletter, which will notify donors about through emails. Please help us better serve libraries.