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Reception is Oct. 18 at Babe's Grill & Bar
Alice Oakey to receive 2018 Cornerstone Award

Now in its 10th year, the SCLS Foundation Board has selected Alice Oakey as the recipient of the 2018 Cornerstone Award. Alice is the former supervisor of Madison Public Library’s Meadowridge Library, 5726 Raymond Road.

This year’s Cornerstone Award Fundraising Reception will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, at Babe’s Grill & Bar, 5614 Schroeder Road in Madison. Bibliotheca, First Business Bank and Hausmann-Johnson Insurance are the corporate sponsors for the awards reception.

Charitable contributions made prior to Oct. 17, 2018, will be included in the reception invitation and program as event sponsors.

“The SCLS Foundation Board is excited to honor a librarian like Alice Oakey who has such a passion and commitment for community service,” said Janet Pugh, SCLS Foundation Board President. “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.”

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.

“She has supported community dinners and built bridges between the library, the schools and the community centers so that people feel connected within their community,” Lawton added. “She is someone that I admire greatly, and with her retirement she will be deeply missed on the library management team and in the broader community.”

Alice 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, and in April 2009 she became the supervisor of the Meadowridge Library.

“Meadowridge is a vibrant, welcoming, very active library,” Alice said, “that is very much embedded in its neighborhood. 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.

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.

“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.”

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.

In fall 2017, the library was able to provide transportation and adult supervision by staff members to send some of the children in their neighborhood to hear Charlotte Zolotow Award speaker Jason Reynolds read from his book. Each child received a signed copy of Jason’s book

Alice retired from Meadowridge in May 2018.

“I am very proud of the innovative work we accomplished while I was there,” 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.”

The Cornerstone Award Reception is open to everyone, it is free of charge, and there is no need to register. There will be light refreshments and a cash bar.

Mark your calendar and make plans to join us for this annual celebration of libraries, and the people who make them great!

SCLS Foundation supports library digitization projects

Each year the South Central Library System (SCLS) Foundation supports projects that benefit member libraries, and in 2018 Foundation funds are being used to support library projects to digitize local historical materials.

Digitization projects began in 2016 through the support of federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). When those funds were no longer available, the South Central Library System transitioned that project to new Public Library System Aid in 2018 that was targeted to support Lifelong Learning.
To support libraries in their digitization projects, the original LSTA grant purchased external hard drives for each library to store the digitized materials. The grant also paid for each library to create an account in Recollection Wisconsin.

Because the LSTA funds are no longer available, the SCLS Foundation Board has allocated more than $9,000, some of which was used to purchase external hard drives and pay the Recollection Wisconsin fees. There are currently 18 libraries working on digitization projects, and SCLS Foundation support ensures that more libraries can undertake projects.
Some of the Foundation funds were also used to purchase additional mobile scanning kits that are available for loan to member libraries.

Foundation funds also purchased two people counter kits that are available for loan to member libraries.

SCLS member libraries can reserve the kits at


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.

  • Benefactor – $9,999 - $5,000
    First Business Bank
    Stanley Talarek
  • Stewards – $4,999 - $1,000
    Bob Blitzke & Jane Grogan
    Lauren Blough
  • Advocates – $999 - $500
    Hausmann-Johnson Insurance
    Don Plier
    Gary Poulson
    Brinnan Shaffer
    Martha Van Pelt
  • Patron – $499 - $250
    Jaime Healy-Plotkin
    Teresa Voss
    Anita Weier
  • Friends – $249 - $100
    Dyanne Collins
    Gary Ferron
    Sara Hoff
    Terrance & Lindsay Hyland
  • Supporters – $99 - $50
    Charles Cohen & Christine Schindler
    Valerie & Dave Edwards
    Sharon & Larry Sperling
    Dennis Tande
  • Sponsors – $49 - $1
    Athens to Atlantis
    Fonda Lewis
    Melissa Ohm


It's all about community!

by Janet Pugh, President
SCLS Foundation Board

It’s a beautiful summer day! The heat and humidity are down and the sun is shining. And I am sure that lots of people are looking forward to being outside. But I’m thinking of all the reasons people might want to be in the cool of the library.

An “unusual” situation occurs during the RAGBRAI, the bike ride across Iowa that happens late in July. Bike riders and support people plan to meet up at the local library, because it’s one place that all towns have and it’s usually easy to locate. On really hot, humid days the library is full of riders seeking a bit of cool after a hard ride. Out come their phones and riders are happy to find an internet connection. And sometimes they find a good magazine or newspaper to read. Librarians have always been patient, helpful and even welcoming. For a few hours the library houses a new and large community. And next day, that community rolls on to the next town and its library.

Libraries are well into serving a community, usually its own community: the town, the city, the neighborhood. This year the South Central Library System Foundation is pleased to honor Alice Oakey, the librarian retiring from Madison Public Library’s Meadowridge Library. Her service at Meadowridge has been all about the library’s community. From movies (with popcorn), to a weekly knitting group, from a Minecraft group to cooking classes, from collaborative gaming to literacy classes, and of course pre-school book reading and adult reading groups. It’s all about the community. We will be celebrating Alice and other libraries at our Cornerstone Award Reception (and Foundation fundraiser) on Thursday, October 18 at Babe’s Grill & Bar in Madison.

The SCLS Foundation looks at the financial aspects of the library’s operations, but always with the needs of particular communities in mind. When a library places its funds with the Foundation, it does so, often, because it is looking to find a safe and profitable way to manage money that has been donated to the library. And the library is looking to the future. They might be looking at remodeling or building new. And those monies may be a kind of disaster insurance fund. Whatever the community may need.

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!