Newsletter -- From the Ground Up

Spring 2019Fall 2018Spring 2018Fall 2017Spring 2017Fall 2016Spring 2016Fall 2015Spring 2015Fall 2014Spring 2014Fall 2013Winter 2013Fall 2012Winter 2012Fall 2011Winter 2011Summer 2010Winter 2010Summer 2009Winter 2009Summer 2008



Alice Oakey receives 2018 Cornerstone Award

Because of her “passion and commitment for community service,” Alice Oakey was honored Oct. 18, 2018, as the 10th recipient of the South Central Library System Foundation Cornerstone Award.

Alice was the supervisor of Madison Public Library’s Meadowridge Library, 5726 Raymond Road, from 2009 until her retirement in May of 2018. She received her BS in Agricultural Journalism from the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Science in 1991 and was a full-time stay-at-home mom until she began working as a page at Madison Public Library at the Sequoya Library in October of 1995. She was promoted to clerk and later began taking courses toward her MLS at UW-Madison SLIS, graduating in June of 2004. In 2006 Alice moved to the Central Library to the Youth Services Department where she was a library assistant.

“I am very proud of the innovative work we accomplished,” Alice said. “I believe neighborhood libraries need to reflect the needs, desires and dreams of their neighborhood residents. I believe in hiring from the neighborhood, providing programming of interest to the neighbors, and making sure the collection reflects the interests of the neighborhood. I also believe it is an honor for a library to be situated in a neighborhood and an honor to be a resource for that neighborhood.”

In her written support of Alice’s nomination for the Cornerstone Award, Sarah Lawton, supervisor of Madison Public Library’s Monroe Street and Pinney Libraries, said, “Alice has dedicated her career to building community through library service. She has become a huge force for positive transformation to residents of the Meadowood neighborhood.” Lawton said Alice has touched the lives of many neighborhood residents in meaningful ways.

As part of her efforts while at Meadowridge, she also worked to create a partnership with the West Madison Senior Coalition to provide lunches for seniors three times per week at the library.

“Meadowridge is a vibrant, welcoming, very active library that is very much embedded in its neighborhood,” Alice said. “At Meadowridge our priority was to serve our patrons in whatever capacity they needed.” Because the renovated library featured a full kitchen, Alice said she and her staff introduced classes for youth and community programs centered around healthy eating and food sustainability. “We hosted monthly community suppers and provided sack lunches every day for children in need of a meal,” Alice explained.

With support from the Madison Public Library Foundation, Meadowridge staff also conducted a successful drive to obtain personal hygiene items for patrons, especially teen-aged girls.

“While at Meadowridge, Sheray Wallace and I also created the Meadowood Health Partnership to provide information and connect our neighbors with the health care resources to help lead healthy lives,” Alice said. “We partner with community health providers to augment what services we could provide in the library. Sheray conducts office hours two days each week at the Meadowridge Library.”

According to Janet Pugh, SCLS Foundation Board President, “The SCLS Foundation Board was thrilled to be able to honor a librarian like Alice Oakey who has such a passion and commitment for community service. She epitomizes the Cornerstone Award, which is given annually to an individual or individuals who have had a significant and long-term impact on enhancing public libraries in South Central Wisconsin. Alice truly represents the values and mission of the South Central Library System Foundation.”

The 2018 Cornerstone Award Fundraising Reception was held Oct. 18 at Babe’s Grill & Bar, 5614 Schroeder Road in Madison. Bibliotheca, First Business Bank and Hausmann-Johnson Insurance were the corporate sponsors for the awards reception.

Libraries honored at Cornerstone Reception

The 2018 SCLS Foundation library award recipients are listed below. More detail and photos are available at

Super Awesome Library Award: Alicia Ashman Library (Madison Public Library)—On Aug. 20, 2018, the Alicia Ashman Library literally became an island from the flooding at Old Sauk and High Point Roads on Madison’s west side. Despite operating on emergency lights and very limited capacity, Pam Wittig, the librarian in charge, kept the library open knowing it was too dangerous for staff and patrons to challenge the surrounding waters.

When Madison Public Library’s Facilities Manager contacted Pam, thanking her for her leadership during the crisis, she simply replied, “Well, I was the librarian.”

Program Wizard Award: Madison Public Library (multiple locations)—“Wild Rumpus: an AnjiPlay experience” is a project at Haen Family Park, Reindahl Park, and Brittingham Park nominated for the Program Wizard Award because it has brought racially, culturally and socially diverse community members together, encouraged early childhood literacy, activated public park space in a new and innovative way, connected children to nature, and expanded the public’s sense of what and where Library programs can be.

“The impact has been substantial and growing,” wrote Marc Gartler, Alicia Ashman & Sequoya Library Supervisor in his award nomination. “This project highlights a successful partnership and sharing of resources between agencies.”

Giddy Up Partner Award: Beth Hays & Ruth Culver Community Library, Prairie du Sac—Partnering with community organizations and agencies is common practice for public libraries, and on Oct. 18 the Ruth Culver Community Library and Beth Hays were recognized by the South Central Library System Foundation as recipients of the 2018 “Giddy Up Partner Award.”

Ruth Culver Community Library and Youth Services Librarian Beth Hays created a community program to explore the documentary “Screenagers—Growing Up in the Digital Age. The film probes into the vulnerable corners of family life and depicts messy struggles over social media, video games, and academics. The film offers solutions on how we can help kids navigate the digital world.

Outstanding Library Volunteer Award: Nicole Waerzeggers, Sun Prairie Public Library—Public libraries and their staff member provide vital services and resource in the communities they serve, but most successful libraries have something else in common—dedicated volunteers. In recognition of her efforts in support of Sun Prairie Public Library, Nicole Waerzeggers was named the 2018 recipient of the Outstanding Library Volunteer Award from the South Central Library System Foundation.

Foundation contributors

These people have donated to the SCLS Foundation since March 1, 2018. The category in which each is listed represents their total Foundation contribution to date.

  • Legacy – $10,000+
    Phyllis Davis
  • Benefactor – $9,999 - $5,000
    Delta Properties
    Peter & Ann Hamon
  • Stewards – $4,999 - $1,000
  • Bob Blitzke & Jane Grogan
    Robert Cohen
    Jane Morgan Memorial Library
    Janet & Tom Pugh
    Claire Rynders
    Single Step Foundation
    Martha Van Pelt
  • Advocates – $999 - $500
  • Pat Behling & Virginia Anderle
    Victoria Billings
    Kathryn Curtis
    Cindy Fesemyer
    Mike Furgal
    Jennifer & Fred Harrington
    Mark & Becky Ibach
    Larry Martin & Martha Cranley
    Mark Miller
    Dave Odahl
    Patricia Portz
    Woodman’s Food Markets
  • Patron – $499 - $250
    Bob Bocher & Mary O’Connor
    Phil & Judith Cox
    Kathleen Imhoff
    Nancy Long
    Oriental Shop
  • Friends – $249 - $100
    Tana Elias
    Gregory Mickells
    Jody Mohrbacher
    Mary Nelson
    Molly Warren
    Bill & Kathleen Zimdars
  • Supporters – $99 - $50
    Barbara Karlen
    George & Beth Ann Scott
  • Sponsors – $49 - $1
    R. Bruce Allison
    Anjali Bhasin
    Liz Dannenbaum
    Raymond Keck
    Mandy Meloy
    Janice Zmrazek


The South Central Library System Foundation

by Janet Pugh, President
SCLS Foundation Board

Eighteen years ago when we were creating the Foundation, we envisioned it in two parts:

Today, we are excited that so many libraries have chosen to invest their donated funds in the Foundation. The financial return to the libraries has been very good. And several libraries have goals and needs for those dollars. This is just the way we wanted the Foundation to work.

The System’s portion of the Foundation has also grown and we have had funds for the Maker Kits, patron counters, and digitization that have been used by local libraries. Good show!

However, we are finding that raising funds for the System’s part of the Foundation is a hard slog. As a System, we do not have the identifiable patron base that local libraries have. The System is kind of like a skeleton, necessary but not seen (unless you spot a red delivery truck!). We rely on the annual Cornerstone Award reception to be the fundraiser for the System’s Foundation. The current donor base is faithful, but not large, and not growing.

The Foundation Board recognizes that in order to continue to provide “extras” for member libraries, we need to continue to grow the System’s part of the Foundation.

As people who support libraries, we rely on you to remember that as a system, we support each other. And that includes supporting the System’s Foundation. The System provides a significant infrastructure for local libraries, and the Foundation supplies money for “extras” that are helpful and important to local libraries. We are thrilled that we are able to make these extras available, but we can’t do it without your help.

Thank you for all you do to support libraries and for what you can do to help all the libraries in the System.

The SCLS “community” is its member libraries. At the Cornerstone Reception, the Foundation also recognizes the great work of local libraries with its awards for special efforts in their communities: the Super Awesome Library Award; the Program Wizard Award: the Giddy Up Partner Award and the Outstanding Library Volunteer Award. It’s up to us, local library users, to nominate libraries for these awards. Look on the Foundation Website for information about these special awards and contact Martha Van Pelt, SCLS Director, for more information.

The SCLS Foundation is a sign that we look to the future and want to support the future of public libraries. We look to support the communities of which we are a part, whether your local town, neighborhood, county, or system. And we know that the future involves all possible ways to interact with that community. In fact, the future is all about community!