After three years of preparation, the library kicked off its capital campaign for its new building on Valentine’s Day with a love-themed event at Firefly Coffeehouse and Artisan Cheese.

Hundreds of people turned out for the occasion, called “Love Your Library.”

Before the event commenced, Oregon Village Board Trustee and project leader Randy Glysch told the Observer private donations from the capital campaign’s quiet phase, which started in September 2019, have already come to over $1.1 million.

“The campaign fundraising steering committee has been working tirelessly over the past several months, with community residents who would come on board to donate early to the project,” Glysch said. “We’ve been able to do this with the help of some significant donations already.”

Library director Jennifer Endres Way said there are more events coming up later in the month and through the spring meant to garner even more excitement about the new library. The capital campaign ends in June.

Construction on the library is likely to begin in 2021, Glysch said.

On Monday, Feb. 17, the library planned an event for teens to make buttons for the library campaign as one of their volunteer activities for Teen Volunteer Day. On Friday, Feb. 20, the library will host a 100 Inspiring Women special event.

The 100 Inspiring Women project is looking for 100 women to donate $1,000 per woman to the library campaign, Endres Way said.

In April, the library will host a Madison Forward soccer game, an art sale event at Headquarters Bar and Grill and a casino night at Charlie’s on Main, library board president Jenny Nelson said. Details for those events are still being finalized.

The goal, Glysch said, is for the community to raise $4 million by June to contribute to the project’s overall $10 million cost. Glysch, who has led fundraising for several major community projects in recent years, said he suspects the community will have no problem raising enough money by summer.

“The best part will be watching the community rally around the new library, and with all the creative ways of raising the necessary funds, it becomes contagious,” Glysch said.

After the campaign is over, the village and library boards will meet jointly to revisit construction plans and determine next steps. Endres Way said the first step would likely be re-hiring an architect and developing final design plans.

At the Friday, Feb. 14, kickoff, village president and Firefly co-owner Jeanne Carpenter read to children in the coffee shop’s play area, and baristas sported red and pink attire with stickers showing their support for the project. More children were gathered around tables sipping drinks, taking bites of food and writing love letters to their future reading space.

People from local businesses, more village officials and Oregon Police Department officials also stopped by to offer their support. The coffee shop donated 50% of its sales to the campaign, matched by Oregon Community Bank. Baristas also donated their tips for the day.

Glysch told the Observer Monday, Feb. 17, the total from the Firefly fundraiser came out to $9,254.

“The Oregon community is incredibly generous and excited about the new library,” OCB President and CEO Steve Poetter said. “The match from OCB is the beginning of our plan to support it.”

The conceptual design plan by OPD Architects is full of windows, with a first floor centered on an all-purpose, 150-seat community room and children’s space, and a second floor with quiet areas and adult and young adult sections.

The initial plan, which the firm put together in August 2019, is a 33,000 square feet building. If the $4 million fundraising goal isn’t reached, one of the options to save money might be shortening one end of the building. The building also could accommodate a 5,500 square foot addition to accommodate future growth.

Some key features include an area for children’s programming, a sensory room, an area for new mothers, a drive-thru book drop, a second-floor makerspace and several quiet, study and conference rooms.

Email Emilie Heidemann at or follow her on Twitter at @HeidemannEmilie.