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Ceremony held Nov. 7 in Madison
Curtis, Zimdars honored with 2013 ‘Cornerstone Award’

Library supporters from across the South Central Library System gathered Nov. 7, 2013, at Madison Public Library to pay tribute to individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to public libraries. Kathryn Curtis & her late husband J. Robert Curtis, and William Zimdars received the “Cornerstone Award” at the fund raising reception.

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.

Introducing Kathryn Curtis was Peter Hamon, former SCLS Director and long-time friend of Kathryn and her husband “Doc.” Hamon said their contributions to libraries are numerous, including playing a significant role in helping Portage construct its current library building. “Kathryn and Doc are not only library supporters of the first magnitude, but wonderful, warm, funny people, and it was my pleasure and honor to work with them for many years,” Hamon said.

When accepting the award, Kathryn said she and “Doc” shared a real love of literature that blossomed into a shared commitment to libraries and service to the community.

In a letter, Portage Mayor W.F. “Bill” Tierney wrote, “Through the years, both Doc and Kathryn have served as tireless advocates for libraries by serving on both local and system library boards. They have passed on their love of libraries to their children, as both March and Ellie served on the library board of their communities. As long-time library supporters, they have been major parts of past and recent successes of not only the Portage Public Library, but the entire South Central Library System. Because of their contributions, the Portage Public Library continues to be an important resource facility for not only the city, but the surrounding area.”

Also honored was William Zimdars, who currently serves on the Portage County Public Library Board. 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 its members 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.

In her introduction, former SCLS Director Phyllis Davis said Bill has always believed that libraries are the leveling force in the community, and that the success of the institution is a credit to staff. “Because this is the kind of guy he is, Bill gives the credit for the success to the staff,” Davis said. “They have made the library what it is today.” However, she was quick to point out that no staff can do that kind of work without a supportive board, and that is Bill’s legacy.

According to past SCLS Foundation Board President Trish Frankland, this fifth annual Cornerstone Award Reception continued a fund raising tradition that has raised over $60,000 for the foundation in five years. More than $12,000 was raised through the 2013 event.

“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,” said Franklin. “And a special thank you to Cedar Grove Cheese for contributing to our delicious hors d’oeuvres, and to Madison Public Library for hosting this year’s event.”

Fesemyer, Iaccarino join Foundation Board

Cindy Fesemyer and Trish Iaccarino are the newest members of the SCLS Foundation Board.

Cindy began her second career in May 2012 as the Director of Columbus Public Library. She is pleased to serve the Columbus community by improving their library to the best of her abilities. So far she’s led the library through a large renovation and the addition of their first-ever parking lot. Together, she and her staff have added tons of new programming and blown the dust off of a somewhat dated materials collection. She’s currently excited to be exploring the idea of expanding the library building sometime in the not-too-distant future (they hope). “That’s why Columbus is so involved with the Foundation,” she said at her first meeting of the SCLS Foundation Board.

Both Cindy and Peter Kaland, the Columbus Library Board President, serve on the Foundation Board at this time. “Hoping that expansion can’t be too terribly far off, the Columbus Library Board opted to start growing its nest egg via the Foundation,” said Kaland. Cindy added that the Library Board had explored other options with various Foundations and settled on the SCLS Foundation “because we get a professionally managed account without committing any of our principle to the Foundation’s own coffers.” She says she sees SCLS as “a very valuable tool for saving.”

Previous to librarianship, Cindy was a non-profit administrator and fund raiser for various Madison-area and statewide organizations. “I’m very happy with this opportunity to share my fund raising skills with the SCLS Foundation,” Fesemyer said.

Also new to the SCLS Foundation Board is Trish Iaccarino. She has been a librarian at UW-Madison since 2002 and previously worked for the Division of Libraries, Technology and Community Learning (1994-2002). Trish has served on the SCLS Board of Trustees since 2003.