Newsletter -- From the Ground Up
Ceremony held Nov. 8 at Fitchburg Public Library
Barb Dimick receives ‘Cornerstone Award’
Friends, family and peers gathered at Fitchburg Public Library on Nov. 8, 2012, to pay tribute to former Madison Public Library Director Barbara Dimick. She is the recipient of the fourth annual SCLS Foundation Cornerstone Award.
“The evening was a fitting tribute to a person who provided great leadership for Madison Public Library for 16 years, and who tirelessly promoted the cause of libraries throughout the South Central Library System and Wisconsin,” said Trish Frankland, foundation board president.
The award is given to an individual or individuals who have had a significant and long-term impact on enhancing public libraries in South Central Wisconsin and represent the values and mission of the SCLS Foundation.
As library director, Dimick expanded community partnerships, increased technology access, and created a safe, democratic environment for people of all races, ages, and economic situations. When Barb began her directorship, the library owned only one computer. Today, its network has expanded to over 120 public machines that provide entertainment to teens, job searching tools to adults, and technological assistance to seniors.
Presenting Dimick’s Cornerstone Award was Gary Poulson, who at the time was serving as the president of the SCLS Board of Trustees and was a member of the SCLS Foundation Board. Poulson said he first met Barb as a new Madison alderperson who wanted to serve on the library board.
“I was truly impressed by her professionalism and demeanor,” Poulson said. “From the very beginning Barb impressed me with her Director reports, which helped this rookie board member get up to speed on library issues and activities. It was clear to me that Barb had a long view on what our branch system could become.”
Poulson explained that Dimick and her staff had prepared a comprehensive and well thought out plan to improve every branch library. “The plan also acknowledged the possibility of new branches located in underserved and newly developing areas of Madison,” Poulson said. “To put this plan into action Barb needed to get buy in from the Library Board, city decision-makers and ultimately the public. Barb Dimick was successful on getting that buy in and support for the majority of the plan.”
According to Poulson, what was accomplished is staggering: an expanded and remodeled Lakeview branch, an expanded Pinney branch, remodeled and improved Monroe Street and Meadowood branches, a brand new west-side Ashman branch, expanded the Hawthorne branch, relocated and expanded the Sequoya and South Madison branches, and set the stage for a newly remodeled Central branch set to open in the fall of 2013.
“Barb understands the importance of a library in a community or a neighborhood,” Poulson said. “A library is more than a just place to enjoy and retrieve interesting materials that educate and entertain. It is a focal point in a community.”
Echoing Poulson’s comments was SCLS Foundation President Trish Frankland, who also is a co-director at Lodi Woman’s Club Public Library. “Barb’s career in Madison is a testament to her hard work and vision about the important role of the public library,” Frankland said. “It is indeed an honor to celebrate her contributions to library service, both in Madison and throughout the South Central Library System.”
The Cornerstone Award Reception has raised nearly $49,000 for the foundation in four years. This year’s event raised just over $8,600
Administration fee lowered to 1.57%
Funds now managed by First Business
In an effort to garner higher returns, lower costs, and better customer service, the SCLS Foundation Board has moved all invested funds to First Business Trust & Investments. The move was effective at the end of December 2012.
According to First Business’ investment policy, asset allocation is by far the most important component of investment performance and risk management. “We have built our firm around the idea of generating consistent, repeatable asset allocation decisions through all market cycles,” says First Business’ investment philosophy. “It is our belief that manager performance will ebb and flow over time, but consistent asset allocation can lead to above-average returns with below-average risk.”
At its January meeting, the SCLS Foundation Board voted to employ a relatively conservative asset allocation of 60% equity and 40% fixed income. This is the same asset allocation used with M&I Bank, but the First Business Trust and Investments average annual return since inception is 9.3%.
In addition to an expected higher return on investment, First Business is also charging a lower administrative fee, which means libraries will only be billed 1.57% annually for the administrative fee.
“We believe this change of investment managers will be a positive experience for those libraries with funds in the SCLS Foundation,” said Trish Frankland, foundation president. “Annual average rates of return with First Business signal a strong potential for higher earnings, and a lower administrative fee also helps generate higher returns.”
First Business Trust & Investments was established in September 2001 as a division of First Business Bank. Today, First Business has over $650 million in assets under administration, with relationships ranging in size from a few hundred thousand dollars to more than $30 million..