Newsletter -- From the Ground Up
Ceremony will be Nov. 7 in Madison
Curtis, Zimdars to receive 2013 ‘Cornerstone Award’
In recognition of their lifetime of work in support of area libraries, including the South Central Library System, Kathryn Curtis & her late husband J. Robert Curtis and William Zimdars will receive the “Cornerstone Award” at a Nov. 7, 2013, fundraising reception. The event will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. in the newly renovated and expanded Madison Public Library, 201 W. Mifflin St.
“This is the Foundation’s fifth annual award to honor people who have made significant contributions to the improvement of library service in their own communities, throughout the South Central Library System, and statewide,” said Trish Frankland, foundation board president and co-director of the Lodi Public Library.
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.
Kathryn Curtis has a long history with Portage Public Library, with the Columbia County Library Board, and with the South Central Library System. In the early 1980s, Columbia County was looking for someone to serve on the SCLS Board of Trustees. When Robert Curtis was asked to take that seat, he suggested Kathryn. She accepted, and soon thereafter became a member of the Columbia County Library Board, and then also became a member of the Portage Public Library board. She served in those multiple capacities for more than 10 years, but served on the local library board longest.
“I have always been very involved,” Kathryn said. “That’s one of the reasons Bob and I married. He was always so interested in education.”
“Doc” Curtis was serving on the local school board when he and Kathryn married, and he also served on the state education board and fulfilled many other volunteer opportunities. “When Bob retired, it was really to start a new career in service: he was on the city council, county board, state boards, and was a representative to the SCLS Board,” Kathryn said. “We enjoyed being involved in all those boards over the years because of the intellectual stimulation. You meet so many really smart and interesting people.”
Also being honored this year is William Zimdars, who currently serves on the Portage County Public Library Board. “The best way to get involved with libraries is to have children,” Zimdars said. “We have four children, and that’s how you really discover how important libraries can be.”
Bill is a former business education teacher, and he also sold insurance later in his career. He was a member of the Portage County Board when they decided to join the South Central Library System, and he became the county’s representative on the SCLS Board of Trustees (served one term as board president). For many years he was a county board representative on the Portage County Library Board, and was off the County Board three months when he was reappointed to the County Library Board as a citizen representative.
“When you ask people about libraries, if they don’t use them they don’t usually have anything negative or positive to say,” Zimdars said, “but if they do use the library they always have wonderful things to say. People pretty much always like libraries.”
According to Frankland, this fifth annual Cornerstone Award Reception continues a fundraising tradition that has raised nearly $49,000 for the foundation in four years.
“It is exciting to have Madison Public Library host this year’s Cornerstone Award,” Frankland said. “Last year’s recipient, former Madison Public Library Director Barbara Dimick, was instrumental in the renovation and expansion of Madison’s central library, so it’s exciting to see the result of all that work.
“We’re also especially grateful to the Gordon Flesch Company, Kayser Ford, and Wegner CPAs for their generous financial contributions in support of the 2013 Cornerstone Awards.”
Board gives $6,188 for ebook purchases
Circulation of eBooks and downloadable audio books continue to garner strong popularity among public library customers, and libraries within the South Central Library System are seeing dramatic increases in the use of resources available through Wisconsin’s Digital Library (http://dbooks.wplc.info).
In support of that increasing e-content use, the SCLS Foundation Board voted in July to allocate $6,188.42, or half of the Foundation’s 2012 net profit, to help purchase ebooks and audio books for Wisconsin’s Digital Library. This follows a 2011 contribution of $5,412 for the same purpose. The money directly supported member libraries, each of which provided financial support toward the creation of a $1 million purchasing pool.
The buying pool, which dramatically expanded the titles available through Wisconsin’s Digital Library, has helped spur usage of the electronic resources. In 2010, customers at SCLS member libraries checked out 6,205 e-books. That number increased to 44,983 in 2011, and hit 224,665 in 2012. That represents a 364 percent increase over 2011. January to July 2013 actual usage was 169,583, with a projected use of 290,714 by the end of 2013.
“The $1 million statewide annual purchasing pool continues to be an aggressive goal,” said Martha Van Pelt, SCLS Director. “But it has had a dramatic impact on usage because of the significant increase in the number of titles.”
At an average cost of $15.50 for the e-books being purchased, that means the Foundation contribution of $6,188.42 will purchase nearly 400 titles.
SCLS and its member libraries account for about 14 percent of the state’s population but about 20 percent of total 2013 WPLC circulation.