Archive for February, 2010

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Painting the town REaD at the temporary library!

February 28, 2010

Kiwanian Lee Jonas is making work fun!

Always willing to lend a hand or a paintbrush, Howard Straub at work.

Getting our temporary library site prepared to be our new home for the next 10 to 12 months has been no small task.  It’s about 17,000 square feet of space.  As you stand there and look at that much floor with a broom in hand, I can assure you that you begin to wonder if the task is too overwhelming.  And then the door opens and in walk the people who have offered to help.  What a bunch of hard workers we’ve had!  Such kind-hearted people who have given up their precious time to help our library. 

We’ve swept and scrubbed, painted floors and walls, and have many people to thank.  The list is long and growing.  I’ll share it when I think I’ve got a complete list.  From individuals to businesses to organizations, many helped.   We are enormously grateful for the support. 

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The bids are in…

February 12, 2010

The bids were opened Tuesday.   They were excellent bids, not much difference from top to bottom.   I’m delighted that the bids met our budget expectations. I know a great deal of time and effort was invested by many people to prepare the bids.  Reviewing the plans and bid documents, analyzing the addenda, scrutinizing the project manual, it’s all a great deal of work within a limited time frame.  I’m grateful to everyone who made the effort to bid our project.   Unfortunately, we can only hire one contractor.  But in the hiring of  one contractor we will be building a library…and that will benefit thousands of people for many years.

The renovated and expanded library will be gorgeous and practical, a unique combination of past and future.  Many people have contributed to the planning process and for that I’m grateful.  I believe the best results are a product of many people’s ideas.   That so many would volunteer to help is testimony to the how important…and needed…this library is to our community.

I can’t remember a time when this library wasn’t important to me.

When I was a 13 year old girl and struggling to find a place in the world and reconcile my own sense of self, I needed the Dwight Foster Public Library.   When I was was considering dropping out of college, I needed the Dwight Foster Public Library.  When I was expecting my children, when I thought I had cancer, when I built a porch, when I went through divorce, when I bought my oven…I needed the Dwight Foster Public Library.

Every day I see how much the library is used and appreciated by folks just like me…whether a person is struggling or joyous…or somewhere in between.   That’s all the inspiration I need.  It engenders a great sense of responsibility in me as we stand at the beginning of the chapter that will allow us to grow and improve and ensure that the Dwight Foster Public Library is able to be that very special place it has always been for all who come after.

Twenty years from now, I’m sure there will be a 13 year old girl trying to figure out her place in the world who will seek answers in our library.  Shoot, we don’t have to wait that long; tomorrow we’ll have one walk through the door.

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You *might* be smarter than a 5th grader…

February 3, 2010
 
But then again, 5th graders  are pretty smart! 
 
Hmmmm, Mary who?

And so are the Fort Atkinson high school students who put together a fantastic fundraiser for our library’s expansion and renovation project.  Linda Straub’s class organized an event based on the theme from the television show Are you smarter than a fifth grader.  The administrators from a variety of schools in Fort Atkinson battled each other and a group of fifth graders during an evening filled with many laughs.  (There is nothing quite like watching an educated educator overanalyze a second grade question.)

The night was expertly emceed by high school principal, Jeff Zaspel, with witty remarks and obvious rapport.  All the contestants did a superb job of having fun, showing off their smarts, and helping our library raise money to make the building project a reality. I’ll admit to knowing some of the answers, but not all.  I do have to say I knew the answer to the Mary Mary Quite Contrary question.  I am, after all, a former children’s librarian.  It was all I could do not to shout out “pretty maids” in my desire to help out the team that was brave enough to wear cheerleaders’  jackets.

Many thanks to Mrs. Straub’s students, Mrs. Straub, and all the principals and students who participated.  To everyone who had a hand in making this event such a success, I offer a very sincere thank you.

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