By Bob Uphues
The Taste of Brookfield @ Your Library, a fundraiser which has been a staple of early autumn for the past 11 years, will take a break in 2018 as library officials shift their focus to their expansion efforts.
The Friends of the Brookfield Public Library have hosted the event in partnership with library officials since 2006, and it has served as a major fundraiser for the Friends, who support the library's mission. The night not only featured food and drink from local restaurants and bars, but it also included a silent auction, raffles and music.
The event typically brought in between $10,000 and $12,000, said Library Director Kimberly Coughran, for the Friends of the Library.
But, with officials concentrating on plans to build a new facility, they are focusing on how they are going to raise what could be substantial sums of money to support that effort.
"Library stakeholders are focusing all energies on the facility project and on the accompanying fundraising that will be necessary to make the project a reality," said Coughran in a press release.
Late last year, the Foundation for the Brookfield Library, a 501c3 nonprofit, was created with the support of the Friends and the library board. Library officials already have been reaching out to potential benefactors in private.
Library board President Linda Kampschroeder told the Landmark last month that their efforts to reach donors "has been better than we had hoped."
"The library and the Foundation for the Brookfield Library are busy working on this philanthropic effort behind the scenes and will soon be in touch with all residents of Brookfield."
A new library building that would provide about 20,000-square-feet of space will cost between $9.5 and $10 million, based on options provided by the library board's architectural firm and discussed by board members in July.
The library board has saved about $5.2 million in a special reserve fund and hopes to raise another $1.5 to $2 million through its newly created foundation. The rest of the cost would be paid for through a long-term loan the library hopes to secure through a bank.
In 2016, the library put a referendum on the ballot asking residents to support issuing $10 million in construction bonds, but the referendum failed, causing the board to rethink its approach.