Archive for October, 2009


Let me be perfectly clear…

October 29, 2009

In September, I sent an email to library staff members with the following subject line:  Thank you but…no more donations.

It wasn’t more than a few minutes and someone said to me, “Wow, the fundraising is over?”

What?  “Where in the world did you get that idea?”

“From your email,” was the reply.  “I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but your subject line indicated we don’t need any more donations.”

Oh my!  That’s not what I meant to say at all!

Here we are in the middle of a capital campaign, trying to raise a large amount of money for our library expansion and renovation project and I was sending an email with the headline announcing we didn’t want any more donations.  What in the world was I thinking?

Well, I wasn’t thinking of course.

We DO want donations.  We need donations.  We can’t do this project without donations.

This was a glaring example of the need to write a better headline.  (It’s also an example of the need to read beyond the headlines if there ever was one.)  Staff needed to read the entire email.   In the body of the email  I was alerting them to the fact that we need to officially stop taking gifts of books and magazines.  People have always been very generous and regularly bring us bags and boxes full of books, DVDs, videos, music CDs, and magazines.   Occasionally we put items in our library’s collection; usually our Friends of the Library takes the items and sells them in our book sales.  Either way the library benefits.   We’ve always greatly appreciated the donations.

However, we are now in the position of cleaning house in preparation for our building project.  We cannot pay to move and store used books so we must make sure they are all out of the facility before Spring.  We will be having increasingly aggressively priced  book sales leading up to our move.  But we do need to call a moratorium on accepting additional materials at this time so we can cope with what we have.  At this time we need to say thank you, but no thank you, to donations of physical items.  So let me be clear.  The moratorium is on the donations of materials.  We don’t have a similar problem with monetary donations.  The Fort Atkinson Community Foundation has plenty of storage capacity for donations to our library fund!  (Did you ever notice how little space money actually requires?)

Anyway, that’s what I meant to say.

I guess it’s good that I had such a wildly inappropriate subject line for my staff email.  It taught me to pay more attention when writing future communications.  Notice the headline of this post has been more carefully crafted; it’s nice and vague.

In life, often times we aren’t lucky enough to get a do-over.   The pink pearl eraser simply doesn’t fix it.  In that case, what you can do is analyze just where you went wrong.   That way you can make a different mistake next time!


Music to our ears

October 17, 2009

Pat Belt, chair of special events for our Foster Growth capital campaign has done an incredible job planning a variety of activities that are helping us raise money for our expansion and renovation.  We’ve had a chili-fest, a brat-fest, T-shirt sales, and collection cans at local businesses.  She and her team of people have been selling Foster Growth T-shirts, candy bars, and our library cooRandySabienkbooks at the Farmer’s Market and beyond.

Our next special event on Friday, November 13th promises to be very special indeed.  A Musical night at the Museum will showcase jazz violionist Randy Sabien accompanying Bill Camplin and will also feature Satchel Paige Welch.  We are just thrilled to be able to offer such a fine group of musicians to Fort Atkinson’s music-loving crowd.  Hors d’oeuvres and wine will be included in the ticket price  of $35 and all proceeds will benefit our library project.

We are grateful to Bill, Satchel, and Randy…and, of course, Pat who made the arrangements as well as her crew and the staff of the Hoard Historical Museum.  When Pat told us of the event, we couldn’t believe how lucky we were to be able to host such a quality show.   Randy, an incredible musician and performer, has been hailed by the Christian Science Monitor, the USA Today, and many other publications.  You can hear a sample of him at his website. Bill is a legend himself and his son, Satchel, an exciting young performer.  Tickets are available at the library and at the Cafe Carpe.  The Hoard Historical Museum is located at 401 Whitewater Avenue in Fort Atkinson.

We hope you join us.   It’ll be music to our ears…and yours!


A “salt of the earth” business proves it

October 4, 2009

Vince Kent of Abendroth Water Conditioning is the chair of the business division for our Foster Growth capital campaign.  He’s a “salt of the earth”  kind of guy (in more ways than one) and we were delighted when he agreed to step up to the plate and join our campaign.  He’s been instrumental in asking businesses throughout our community to support our fundraising effort.   He’s got great ideas, including one he’s using in his own business.  He’s donating a portion of all the water softener salt sales of his business throughout our building project.     We are so very grateful for his generosity with his time and expertise as well as his financial commitment to our library.

If you’d like to help our library, please consider buying your salt from Abendroth Water Conditioning.    If you’re a business, don’t hesitate to contact Vince to discuss innovative ways you too can help.  We’d sure appreciate your support.  All donations of $500 or more receive a place on our donor wall…which will provide long-lasting recognition for your business, your family, or yourself.

We have some great Foster Growth T-shirts and hoodies for sale at the library and the farmer’s market.  But maybe we should think about adding a few of these to our line!  (Not exactly the right type of salt, but definitely the right idea!)

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