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Reception is Nov. 2 in McFarland
Larry Martin to receive Cornerstone Award

Now in its ninth year, the SCLS Foundation Board has selected Larry J. Martin (right) as the recipient of the 2017 Cornerstone Award.

This year’s Cornerstone Award Fundraising Reception will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, at the 5100 Bar and Grill, 5100 Erling Ave., McFarland, WI.

Larry is the Executive Director of the 25,000-member State Bar of Wisconsin and Director of its charitable arm, the Wisconsin Law Foundation. He is the State Bar’s chief executive officer and recommends and participates with elected leadership in formulating its policies and programs and is responsible for their implementation. As Executive Director, he oversees the management of the State Bar operations, finances and its human and capital resources, including the development of staff leadership, diversity, training, and building capacity within the organization to meet member needs.

“Larry is very deserving of this recognition,” said Janet Pugh, President of the SCLS Foundation Board. “He has been a long-time supporter of libraries, and was instrumental in the creation of the Foundation.”

Prior to becoming Executive Director on July 1, 2017, Larry served for six years first as the State Bar’s Member Services Director and then as its Associate Executive Director. 

Before joining the State Bar, Larry served in a variety of executive leadership positions running non-profit and professional associations, as well as a public servant in state government. He is the former Executive Director of the Wisconsin Library Association, Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, and the first Executive Director of the Dane Fund, now known as Forward Community Investments, a community development loan fund fighting poverty and promoting long-term economic self-sufficiency.  In addition, he has served in State Government as Chief of Staff to the Lieutenant Governor, Executive Assistant in the Department of Regulation and Licensing, and as a Senior Advisor to the Governor.

Larry’s community involvement has included service on the South Central Library System Board and he was a founding member of the South Central Library System Foundation.

In addition, he is an active volunteer in the Midvale Heights Neighborhood Association and Our Lady Queen of Peace Church.

The Cornerstone Award Reception is open to everyone, it is free of charge, and there is no need to register. There will be light refreshments and a cash bar.

Mark your calendar and make plans to join us for this annual celebration of libraries, and the people who make them great!

Award nomination deadline is Sept. 1

In an effort to recognize the amazing things public libraries do every day, the South Central Library System Foundation each year presents awards as part of the annual Cornerstone Award Reception. This year’s event will be held Nov. 2, and the deadline for award nominations is Sept. 1, 2017, at 5 p.m.

Library staff members, trustees, friends, or residents can nominate their library to recognize the amazing work public libraries do every day while serving their communities. The awards and descriptions are listed below. To make an online nomination, visit and click on the award name.

Foundation opens membership to libraries statewide

The South Central Library System (SCLS) Foundation Board voted at its July meeting to extend membership in the Foundation to public libraries, and groups that support public libraries, outside of the SCLS boundaries of Adams, Columbia, Dane, Green, Portage, Sauk and Wood Counties.

SCLS Director Martha Van Pelt reported that a Certified Public Accountant and an attorney both reviewed the plan and said it doesn’t create any conflict with the Foundation’s IRS 501(c)(3) status.

The member agreement has been updated to reflect this change, and efforts will be undertaken in the next few months to promote this new service to public libraries statewide.

“This is an excellent way for us to support libraries statewide,” said Janet Pugh, Foundation Board President. “It will also help defray the costs of managing the Foundation for member libraries.

For more information, please contact Martha Van Pelt, SCLS Director, at (608) 246-7975 or by email at

Board approves tiered fee structure

The South Central Library System Foundation (SCLSF) assesses a management fee that partially recovers the costs of its operations and services. That fee had previously been a 1% annual fee, but this year the board approved a new tiered fee structure that decreases as a library’s fund balance increases.

The fee starts at 1% and decreases to a minimum of 0.5%. In addition to the management fee, libraries pay a 0.6% charged by the holding banking/financial institution to cover its investment services costs (based upon the value of the fund at the end of each prior month).

More information about the tiered fees is available at

Planned giving brochure available for library use

Estate planning is on the minds of many Americans, and decisions about where to direct charitable contributions are being made daily.

Public libraries are often a desired designation for inclusion in “planned giving” through wills and estates, and those decisions are made easier when the individuals contemplating donations have information readily available.
To assist South Central Library System Foundation member libraries with this type of planned giving, a brochure titled “Leave a Legacy” is available.

The brochure explains that through the “Campaign to Enhance Public Libraries,” the SCLS Foundation raises private funds that will, in turn, permit public libraries to expand their excellent services.

There is also an explanation of the potential tax benefits by donating to the SCLS Foundation, and there is information about donating securities and/or property.

You can download a pdf of the brochure at The brochure can also be customized for an individual library, and such requests should be directed to Martha Van Pelt, SCLS Director, at (608) 246-7975 or

The SCLS Foundation Cornerstone Award

by Janet Pugh, President
SCLS Foundation Board

The South Central Library System is very fortunate! We are blessed with an abundance of people who work hard to provide great service to Wisconsin through our network of public libraries. SCLS is in the business of supporting libraries and their workers and volunteers, so that you and I can benefit from all that libraries offer. We like to think that SCLS is one of the best library systems in the country!

This level of excellent service does not happen by accident. When the SCLS Foundation created the Cornerstone Award in 2009, we wanted to recognize individuals who have been outstanding in their leadership, vision, and hard work in support of South Central libraries.

Merriam Webster’s definition of cornerstone includes the phrase “basic element.” In addition to being a foundational piece of rock supporting a structure, a cornerstone can be a basic element of things less tangible: a policy, a program, a movement.

Each of our Cornerstone Awardees in the past eight years has been a cornerstone, an important element in the strength, growth, and excitement that we find in the South Central System. Some have worked for the system, providing leadership and direction for day-to-day operations and for new growth opportunities. Others have been important to the System’s Board of Directors and to the support of libraries in their home communities. There have been librarians in local public libraries. And there have been those who support libraries through their own businesses. All of them have been unswerving in their support for the mission of South Central libraries to provide the best possible service to everyone who comes in the door.

Let me be the first to invite you to the 2017 celebration of another Cornerstone Awardee on Thursday, Nov. 2. We will gather at the 5100 Bar & Grill in McFarland to honor our most recent “cornerstone,” Larry J. Martin. We will also recognize and celebrate some system libraries that provide great programs for our children and for us.

Cornerstone people are all around us. While we honor those who work for libraries and their services, it is also good to recognize people in our own lives who we count on to do work where we cannot. I look forward to being able to lift up the people who have been important, basic elements -- cornerstones -- throughout SCLS. Join us!