When the name fits…

October 27, 2008

In typical librarian fashion, I have a notebook filled with research regarding library capital campaign themes. (But it’s not cross-referenced, categorized or alphabetized.  At least not yet!)

There are the usual ones like “Building a better tomorrow” or “Help write the next chapter” or “Preserving our past, building our future.” Then there are some that are a bit more unusual: “We’re due for a renewal” (which is so very library that I love it, but at some level I feel it sounds a bit too “entitled”). In my notebook are other unusual ones such as: “Because the interest rate has soared” (true enough, but no sense reminding people!), “Refuel your mind for free” (again, a little too much of a painful reminder, I think, and more of a general library theme than a capital campaign theme). Two of my favorites: “Ease the Squeeze”, and “We stretch, you grow.”

I have 2 full pages of ideas, some my own, others from library capital campaigns elsewhere around the United States.

In the end, in the middle of the night (during a tossing and turning episode), I began to think about our library’s history. I started thinking about Dwight Foster, Fort Atkinson’s first non-native settler.  It was Foster’s descendants who donated the majority of the funds to build the original library structure in 1916 as well as the first expansion, 15 years later.

As I was thinking about Mr. Foster, it set me to wondering what his name meant…which got me to thinking about the word itself.  (That’s how my mind works, especially in the middle of the night.)  Suddenly, it dawned on me that “Foster” is an incredibly strong word in its own right.

Here is a compilation of definitions from a variety of dictionaries:


To feed; to nourish; to support; to bring up.

To cherish; to promote the growth of; to encourage; to sustain and promote; as, to foster genius.

To be nourished or trained up together.

Relating to nourishment; affording, receiving, or sharing nourishment or nurture; — applied to father, mother, child, brother, etc., to indicate that the person so called stands in the relation of parent, child, brother, etc., as regards sustenance and nurture, but not by tie of blood.

To help develop, help grow; “nurture his talents”

To make; create; arouse; elicit; kindle; evoke; fire; raise; provoke; stimulate; shake; excite; stir; animate; invigorate; enliven; exalt, encourage, serve; serve well; patronize; support; keep going; advance; boost; further; encourage; inspire

Wow.  It is a strong word.  And it actually describes the multiple interelated goals of our project. 

Our project is about the smart growth of our building, which translates to healthy growth in our community.  Both of these factors contribute to, and encourage, the individual growth of the people who live here.  It’s ultimately about boosting and advancing and inspiring personal growth…one citizen at a time.   To me, “Foster Growth” means all of that.

So “Foster” is definitely my new favorite word.   Darn if I’m not tempted to change my name! 😉



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