Archive for December, 2008


Action expresses priorities

December 22, 2008

Thank you to the Fort Atkinson Community Foundation board of directors.  On behalf of the Dwight Foster Public Library board of trustees and its staff, we want you to know how grateful we are for your decision to contribute the lead gift of $1.5 million dollars to the library’s capital campaign.

During this time, especially, we know the meaning of your gift.  We understand the magnitude of your commitment and are appreciative beyond words.

A favorite quote of mine is from Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi:  “Action expresses priorities.”   With your donation, you’ve continued your long tradition of making the Fort Atkinson community your priority.  Investing in our library is a tangible way to reach into the future with a priceless present.  It’s a gift that will bear fruit well beyond any of our own lifetimes.

Thank you.

In my search for a way to say thanks electronically, I found the following video on YouTube.   Through song and images, perhaps this will convey a proper sense of gratitude. 

(Note: On 9.1.09 I changed to video link because the original video was removed due to copyright issues.  This is a “cover” of the Josh Groban song.)


It’s on the tree. At the library AND at home.

December 10, 2008

It’s Christmas time in the city. And the country. Actually, wherever you are. Does that mean I can take a moment for a (very self-serving) commercial break? I hope so because I need to share with you the exciting news about the libray’s new place in Fort’s history book.

Fort Atkinson’s Chamber of Commerce retail division produces and features a new collectible ornament every year. It’s always a beautiful keepsake of a locally historic place. We are very proud to have the library be the 2008 star! The ornament is available for purchase from a variety of local retailers at the price of $15 with a $50 purchase or $25 by itself.

You can view it in person on the library’s Christmas tree. It hangs with pride on my tree at home as well. I would encourage you to buy one and hang it at your house.  It’s a lovely ornament.

Just in case you can’t get to the library right now (and I’d love to invite you to my home, but I’m usually at work) 😉 …here is the ornament: library-ornament1


What’s so special about Andrew Carnegie?

December 5, 2008

I’ve asked myself this question over the years.

Andrew Carnegie was a really important person in the history of libraries in our country. However, he didn’t actually donate to build Fort Atkinson’s library.

According to our history books, Carnegie was asked but denied the request (citing the fact that we already had a library building). So when the citizens wanted to replace the house which served as a library with an actual library building, they had to rely on other benefactors, including the generous descendants of Dwight Foster.

Andrew Carnegie’s contributions for the good of public libraries in America were beyond significant. His gifts profoundly improved the library experience for thousands of communities. He donated to many Wisconsin libraries, including Jefferson. You can read about that (and more) at the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center.

Carnegie had a number of quotations that I admire. One is, “The man who dies rich dies disgraced.” He was certainly an example of someone who lived his philosophy, giving away almost 90 percent of his fortune before he died.

There is an interesting piece about Carnegie on the National Park Service’s web site (Carnegie Facts). It indicates that by the time of his death, Carnegie had given gifts to various charities totaling nearly $350 million. I’m unsure what the present value of that amount of money would be. I’m not going to do the math on that (I’ve got other math problems taking priority). Anyway, I think it’s sufficient to say it’s a whole bunch of money.

Andrew Carnegie was a wise and complex man who believed in libraries as the place where you “teach people how to fish.” I happen to think that this is one of the highest purposes of libraries. And a task for which we are inherently well-equipped.

Napoleon Hill, motivational author, discusses his meeting with Andrew Carnegie in the video you can see below. Fascinating!

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