Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fitchburg, Cottage Grove Library Referenda

The current configuration of Dane County public libraries.

Are you an optimist?

Then you'll prefer the headline at the online version of the Capital Times: "Fitchburg, Cottage Grove optimistic about library fundraising". (Note: The Fitchburg link wouldn't open for me.)

Are you a pessimist?

Then pick up the print version: "Booked for failure? Some say now's a bad time to raise money for new Fitchburg, Cottage Grove libraries."

"One of the first things that people ask when they move here is, 'Where is the public library?'" [president of the Friends of the Cottage Grover Community Library Anne] Schoenemann said. "It is something that people value and expect to have. I think it is something we are ready to invest in."

But Kathleen Woit, president of the Madison Community Foundation, which each year contributes more than $10 million to Dane County, U.S. and global causes, said the timing isn't the best.

"I wouldn't think that anyone would start a capital campaign right now," Woit said. "The economy overall is not getting any better."

Woit said that while a slew of major local campaigns are just wrapping up, including the Goodman Community Center on Madison's east side and the Lussier Community Education Center on the west side, few new campaign launches are appearing on the horizon.

In the coming year, Woit said the foundation will continue to contribute to local causes "but won't have any extra money." Those that will get funding are likely those that have been in the planning pipeline for two to three years.

"I am telling people not to start anything new," Woit said.

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