The public library as a concept is incredible. The idea itself could be seen as radical, if it wasn’t so familiar. It is an institution, free and open to every citizen, whose sole purpose is to provide access to knowledge; provided with no ideological position, other than the belief that education is fundamental to a free and democratic society. It is something to be appreciated and closely guarded. As a community, we ensure the existence of public libraries through advocacy and financial support — and we do this because public libraries are fundamental to who we are and what we cherish as a people.
Like many of you, my love of the library began as a child who saw it as a magical place where adventures could begin. In middle school, I found a welcome respite from my teenage years. Later, in college, the library was my work-study retreat, when I could sneak into the stacks and read magazines from the 1940s and 1950s — what a fascinating glimpse into our cultural history.
While I’ve long been a lover of the resources the library provides, my passion for the institution itself has grown since I started working for the Library Foundation in 2007 as the director of annual giving and capital campaign coordinator. Thus I was both deeply honored and challenged when I accepted the position of executive director earlier this year.
In addition to my own transition, the Library Foundation has recently added two new staff members. It is with great pleasure that I introduce our whole team, pictured in the photo above: From left, Danah Zimmerlee (development associate), Tracy Green (director of development), Chandra Gordon (executive director) and Susan Nicholson (controller).
We, like you, cherish our library. Andrew Carnegie stated it well when he said, “A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.” Many of the Louisville Free Public Library (LFPL) branches were financed by Carnegie, who funded more than 3,000 library locations around the globe.
LFPL benefits our city in so many ways. It provides access to printed materials and online resources, as well as programs that engage our patrons from infancy to retirement. It provides college and career resources and skill-building opportunities, especially in technology fields. And it provides community meeting spaces and avenues for civic engagement.
The Library Foundation provides funding to enhance these important programs and services of LFPL, including Summer Reading, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, college scholarships for librarians, capital campaigns for new facilities and much more. We do this only through the support of individuals and organizations that understand the importance of the public library. We look forward to working with each of you as we share Carnegie’s vision in support of this fundamental institution.
My best to you,