Friends Annual Benefit
An enthusiastic crowd of supporters gathered to celebrate the library and to join the Friends in recognizing the many contributions of Drew University of Madison to the library community. Graciously accepting the library’s thanks, Drew Executive Director of Housing, Conferences and Hospitality Patricia Naylor said she was very pleased to have a partnership between the university and Madison’s library.
“Our institutions have much in common,” she said. “We share a love of learning, joy in the discovery of new concepts and delight in the exchange of ideas. “We welcome the opportunity to share the expertise of our faculty with you,” Naylor noted.
Friends Chairperson Patricia Tagg highlighted Drew’s instrumental assistance in orchestrating the Friends’ “Touch-A-Truck” fund-raising events in the summer, and 19 years of teaming up with the library to bring the community the Drew Mini-Course Series.
The Drew Mini-Courses are short, non-credit courses taught by the faculty of Drew University and others, and hosted by the library’s Chase Room auditorium. They are open to the general public interested in learning for pleasure.
The Drew Mini-Courses, ranging from art and music to history and politics, are extremely popular, Tagg explained, and have become a major source of fund-raising for the Friends, bringing in more than $340,000 in 2010 alone, particularly impressive given that the program’s main purpose has always been enrichment, not fund-raising.
Madison resident Frank Benedict jump-started the program back in 1991. Benedict, then a recent retiree, had been seeking a way for the community to gain access to high-quality academic programs without having to pay the high tuition of regular college courses. Benedict connected with Drew’s Director of Continuing Education and Career Services Ronald Ross, who had been looking to initiate a community outreach program, and the Drew Mini-Course Series was born. Said Naylor, “The mini-courses are education in its purest form: teaching those who are coming to the class for the sake of learning. No papers, no exams, no grades,” she explained, drawing appreciative laughter and applause from the crowd.
Drew Mini-Courses are offered to the general public with each class meeting for two hours, once a week, for five weeks in the library’s Chase Room. Tuition for one course is $85, and $65 for each additional course. For information about the series, more information, visit http://www.rosenet.org/drewminicourses.
Also at the March 5 cocktail party, Tagg disclosed an exciting new service the library has in the works.
Library cardholders will soon be able to borrow admission passes from the library to use as free entry to selected museums in the metropolitan area, including several in New York City. The program is being supported by the Friends in honor of the educational and cultural opportunities offered to the community in cooperation with Drew University.
Proceeds of the Drew Mini-Course Series and all Friends fund-raising events go to support special programs and expanded materials that fall outside of the library’s normal budget. The Friends of the Madison Public Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.