Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
The Newberry has announced its First and Foremost campaign, a fundraising initiative that will raise $30 million to fund the renovation of its first floor; support the growth, accessibility, and use of its collection; enhance programming for both scholars and the public; and strengthen the library’s endowment.
To date, more than 80% of the campaign funds have been raised through leadership gifts from Newberry Trustees and other notable Chicago individuals and institutions. Of the $30 million goal, approximately $12 million will support the six-month renovation (currently underway) of the library's historic first floor, which opened in 1893.
“The renovation will allow us to realize more fully the potential of our building to welcome visitors, communicate how our collections can be used, and engage readers and other users with our collections and programs in innovative ways,” said Newberry President David Spadafora. “Equally important, however, is raising funds for the programs and activities that will take place in these new spaces, as well as to support our professional staff as they deploy, and continue to develop, their expertise and creativity to serve the needs of all our users. Such funding is particularly important for an institution that has always served the public without any admission charge.”
In recent years, new technology has precipitated substantial changes in the ways in which scholars conduct research and the public interacts with libraries and museums. The First and Foremost campaign will help make possible a variety of new ventures that take account of these shifts in use, including institution-wide projects that foster connections across audiences and disciplines through coordinated exhibitions, expanded public programming, and digital resources.
David Hilliard, chair of the Newberry’s Board of Trustees and a co-chair of the campaign, stressed the importance of the campaign’s success. “The Newberry stands out among research institutions in that it both serves distinguished scholars from around the world and also is free and open to the public. To meet the needs of all audiences, we strive to ensure that our facilities, world-renowned collection, and educational programming are accessible and engaging. The First and Foremost campaign will provide us with the necessary funding to connect our users with the programs and collections of the Newberry in the decades ahead.”
Among the notable contributors of leadership gifts to the campaign are: The Roy and Irene Rettinger Foundation, Roger and Julie Baskes, Sheli Z. Rosenberg and Burton X. Rosenberg and The Davee Foundation.
With the public announcement of the campaign, the Newberry noted it hopes to encourage broader participation from those who appreciate the work of the Newberry. “The Newberry consists of an extraordinarily diverse community of learners, and we aim to present an equally diverse array of opportunities for participation in this campaign,” said Vice President of Development Katy Orenchuk. “We are grateful for those members of the Newberry's family who are able to make leadership gifts to First and Foremost, and we hope that everyone who cares about this wonderful institution will consider contributing at this transformational moment in our institution’s history.”
Newberry Library Building in Chicago's Goldcoast (photo courtsey of Newberry Library).