The Madison Public Library Foundation has agreed to raise $100,000 for this year's Wisconsin Book Festival, which it will host along with the Madison Public Library, according to foundation director Jenni Collins.
This announcement comes on the heels of a proposal library director Greg Mickells presented to the library board on Dec. 6 and revisited on Jan. 3. Under his plan, the festival will have a total budget of $211,500. The library foundation will solicit donations from individuals, businesses and other foundations to reach its $100,000 goal, and the remaining $111,500 will be in-kind funding from the library itself. The Wisconsin Humanities Council, which helmed the festival from 2002 to 2012, has pledged to contribute $20,000 during the next two years.
Over the past month, Mickells has advocated shortening the festival from five days to four and shifting its emphasis to nationally renowned authors. Yesterday he noted that the new Central Library, which is slated to open this September, will provide "beautiful program spaces" that are well suited for the festival's main attractions. Smaller events will be held at library branches throughout the city, helping the festival reach book lovers in a wide cross-section of Madison neighborhoods.
Noting that festival attendance has grown year after year, Collins is convinced that the community supports and reveres the annual celebration of authors and readers.
"We are confident that these long-time enthusiasts and the rest of the community will step up to help us continue this important literary institution for Madison," she said in a news release.