Since 1996, the year the Internet began to be introduced into homes and libraries, lending of public library materials has increased 28 percent from 47 million to
60 million items.


What is the vision for the library?

A successful library provides equal, effective and easy access to information and resources for community members of all ages, including:

  • Collections that are accessible and readily available to all users;
  • Separate, uniquely designed spaces for children, teens and adults in which they can learn, explore, and thrive;• An environment in which patrons can work alone or with their colleagues; and,
  • An organization that works collaboratively with community groups and organizations and other city services.

When will the library open to the public?

The Library is expected to open about July 2011. Groundbreaking is scheduled for April 2010, during National Library Week, and construction will begin in mid-2010.

How will the library use technology?

Access to a full range of technology is a core feature of the library. Patrons will have over 20 computer workstations with software applications and Internet access, as well as space for computer training classes. Patrons will be able to use an array of electronic research and business databases not otherwise available free to individuals. Staff will be able to assist with information searches and help navigate the difficult online information environment. Instruction on use of the computers and electronic resources will be available. Technology will also be used behind the scenes with checkout and identification systems for materials as well as smart, efficient building systems for energy use and security.

Will the Library have public meeting space?

The library will have a variety of meeting spaces available for both large and small groups. Larger meeting space can be subdivided into smaller meeting rooms and will be equipped with appropriate technology. A conference room will be available, as will smaller study rooms.

Why will the library have underground parking?

Underground parking will reduce the environmental impact of the building by permitting an equal amount of land to remain green space. The city has required some new buildings in Fitchburg to use structured parking as part of its urban design plan.

What will the library have that the bookmobile doesn’t?

Currently, the bookmobile makes limited stops in Fitchburg for a total of 5.5 hours per week. The library will be open 67 hours per week. The library will contain over 90,000 books, audio and video materials, and it will offer 250 magazine subscriptions. At least 20 computers will be available for public use and computer training, and free Wi-Fi service will be available throughout the building for users’ laptops. Community meeting rooms will help fill the need for more meeting spaces in Fitchburg. Comfortable spaces for reading and study will be readily available, with customized areas for teens, children and adults. Programs for all ages will be offered regularly, and highly qualified staff will help users locate information and materials and assist with research.

Do we need a library in Fitchburg when there are libraries in surrounding communities?

A well-maintained public library, equipped with ample information, resources and cutting-edge technology plays a vital role in contributing to the quality of life and extending economic and lifelong educational opportunities to all. A recent Wisconsin study validated the importance of libraries in a community by identifying that for every dollar spent on library services, four dollars were returned to the community. A Fitchburg Public Library will be able to customize collections and programs to meet local needs.

In this technology age, are libraries still needed?

Many people have the false impression that the Internet has replaced the need for public libraries, but research doesn’t support that claim. Survey results showed that in 2006, public libraries experienced a continued increase in use, including the checkout of materials and attendance at library programs such as story time. Since 1996, the year the Internet began to be introduced into homes and libraries, lending of public library materials has increased 28 percent from 47 million to 60 million items. A study released in 2007 found that young adults, ages 18-30, are among the heaviest users of public libraries “despite the ease with which they can access a wealth of information over the Internet from the comforts of their homes.” With the current difficult economic times, local libraries are reporting higher use as people economize on purchases and participate in free local programs for job searches, entertainment and education. Access to library resources online creates virtual library users in addition to those that visit or call the public library.

Will residents of other communities be allowed to use the Fitchburg library?

Yes. Wisconsin is an excellent example of the cooperation among libraries across municipal lines. Through resource sharing agreements with the South Central Library System (SCLS), duplication of materials and services is minimized.

Are donations to the library’s capital campaign tax deductible?

Yes, donations are tax deductible to the limit of the law as recognized by the Internal Revenue Service. Donations are deposited in the “A Spark for Fitchburg Library” Fund at the Madison Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) entity. Checks should be made out to “Madison Community Foundation—Fitchburg Library” and mailed to the Capital Campaign Committee, 2935 South Fish Hatchery Road, Box #404, Fitchburg, WI 53711.

How will donors be recognized?

Everyone who contributes will be listed in a Book of Donors that will be on permanent display in the Library. In addition, other forms of public recognition will available based on the size of the gift.

How much will the library cost, and how will it be paid for?

The estimated project cost is $14 million, including construction costs of $9.5 million; architects’ fees, technology infrastructure, furniture, and equipment of $2.8 million; and purchase of the opening-day collection at a cost of $1.7 million.

The City of Fitchburg will provide $10 million for the building’s design and construction. The features that transform the building into a library at the cost of $4 million are being raised through private gifts and grants. A capital campaign will be launched in early 2010, prior to construction.

What will it cost to operate the library?

The estimated annual operating budget is $1,821,818. The sources of this money include a reduction of the library tax paid to Dane County, library revenue generated by fines, meeting room rentals, private donations and an additional tax of approximately $96 on a $250,000 home.

The new library budget will cover ongoing collections purchases, staff and general operational costs. These costs are based on Dane County’s required population-based library standards, which spell out operating hours, number of employees and size of collection. There also is a county requirement to participate in a shared, automated, integrated library system called LINK, which Fitchburg Public Library will join shortly before it opens.